That Cambridge Analytica Facebook thing

I wouldn’t have known the niece was in Memphis for the MLK memorial without Facebook.

My wife has never been on Facebook. Occasionally, she had considered joining, as it would be a way for her to be part of interest groups with some of her teaching colleagues. In fact, I’m friends on the platform with some of her teaching buddies.

But she said, correctly, that she could not fit Facebook into her busy schedule. And indeed, it can be a time suck. Someone criticized me on FB recently for making some point then not arguing it to death. But, as Carly said, “I haven’t got time for the pain.”

Although it is true that I generally cannot just let an item with false information, posted by someone I know IRL, go unchallenged. Usually it’s about the death of someone who isn’t dead, or died a dozen years ago. Or something about autism and vaccines from a shady website I’ve never heard of.

My wife also worried about issues concerning privacy, VERY correctly, as it turns out. I mean, I wasn’t worried about sharing my views – hey, I have a daily blog – but even
Neil J. Rubenking of PC Magazine was surprised by things the social networking giant knew about him.

Still, the Cambridge Analytica data debacle led to changes in procedures. The problem for Mark Zuckerberg now is having to sit before the U.S. Congress and explain how 87 million Facebook users’ data got in the hands of a third party app, and whether there are other entities out there with similar data mined from them. He was slow to apologize, and only after stock prices started plunging.

I understand why more than a few people I know IRL have decided to abandon the platform over this. In my cost/benefit analysis, I still like reconnecting with old friends and remembering birthdays. For instance, I wouldn’t have known the niece was in Memphis for the MLK memorial without Facebook.

I’ve discovered people with common viewpoints, and more than a few with divergent ones, none of whom, BTW, I’ve convinced of anything.

The thing is that, yeah, something else could, and maybe should, rise up and replace Facebook. From 2007: Will MySpace ever lose its monopoly? (HT, Dan.) But it isn’t going to develop overnight.

I guess I’ll stick around on Facebook for now, even with the invitations for Candy Crush, et al. that I studiously avoid.