About That Facebook Data Hysteria

Every few days, the media finds something new to freak out over. As long as it's a minor variation of the thing it was freaking out over last week.

Here's the truth.

The internet's big free services are data harvesting operations. There are so many free apps and games because they collect your data. All those sites that want you to sign in using Facebook are collecting your data. All this is sold and resold more times than anyone can count. 

There's nothing new here.

Facebook isn't careful with your data because it values your privacy, but because it can make money by restricting access to it. Along with Google, Facebook dominates digital advertising. It doesn't just have a very popular service, it has a lot of personal data and lots of targeting options.

And it wants to exploit those. Unless it really likes you or you get past its radar.

A former Obama campaign official is claiming that Facebook knowingly allowed them to mine massive amounts of Facebook data — more than they would’ve allowed someone else to do — because they were supportive of the campaign.

In a Sunday tweet thread, Carol Davidsen, former director of integration and media analytics for Obama for America, said the 2012 campaign led Facebook to “suck out the whole social graph” and target potential voters. They would then use that data to do things like append their email lists.

“They came to office in the days following election recruiting & were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side,” Davidsen tweeted.

No surprises there.

The hysterical Guardian coverage is meant to make you think that Brexit and Trump happened because some cunning geniuses abused Facebook data. I'm sure the campaigns were effective enough, but building these kinds of profiles wasn't a unique or original idea. Everyone who is anyone in the field is trying to do it. Not everyone gets to be the center of a medium circus.

And here's what all these conspiracy theories are leaving out.

Trump didn't win because of Russian Facebook ads or Facebook data. He won because he connected with the anger of a sizable number of voters. Ditto for Brexit.

But the lefties don't have to deal with that if they just throw out another conspiracy theory.

Trump didn't really win. Brexit didn't really happen. It was all a Facebook trick. Now let's have a do over.