Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and us: the good, the bad and the ugly?

The data scandal no one sees coming. Really?

A few days ago, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Mark Zuckerberg was in front of the American Senate to answer questions about privacy, data, business model, money, ethics.
This question is the centerpiece of all this recurrent mess:

  • How does the Facebook does make money from a free of charge service?
  • More than that, how does all the ecosystem make money?

Behind the magic, there is a reality. Really?

I do not know who were the customers of this company specialized in targeting and growth hacking.
These guys were certainly focused on results rather than methods.

  • It's a bit weird to think that these companies were not interested at all in the methodologies.
  • It's embarrassing that nobody wanted to watch behind the scene to understand how the magic was working.
  • It's also convenient to look the other way sometimes.

The good, the bad, the ugly. The roles are so obvious in this story. Really?

Let's remember this film and play a little game together.

  • The good is us, kind and naive users of Facebook
  • The bad is Facebook
  • The ugly is Cambridge Analytica

Hmmm...The marketing companies should be present in the casting as well.
But, are they victims? Are they guilty? Were they spoiled?
If you look closer, this situation is not crystal clear.

It's an easy way to focus on Facebook and Cambridge Analytics.
These companies make business with data, behavior from our profiles and their customers (marketing companies).
Without any data and customers: no business, no money, no scandal.
It's maybe a little bit naive but to my mind, the whole ecosystem is responsible for this.
Unfortunately, with a layer of responsibility at every step, including us.

So, that's it. We are ALL responsible. Really?

Millions of Facebook accounts were spoiled, that's a fact.
But, I'm sorry to say that we share a part of responsibility when we click on the "like","comment" or "share" icon.

We use a free platform every day. Free does not mean that there's no cost and no money behind it.
Free means that the service is provided against a counterpart: the processing of our data.
And we are aware of that.
That's exactly why we should claim and keep a part of this responsibility.

Claiming a part of the responsibility is the only way to be involved and legitimate to ask questions and demand explanations.
Otherwise, we will be locked outside.

The tech will be responsible for us. The convenient way to get rid of problems.

Autonomous cars, autonomous planes, autonomous finance regulation. The world will really be better when all these boring things will be automated. No more problems. Consequences will not bother us anymore. The life will be easier just because we will not be responsible anymore.

Thank God! What a relief! Really?

Think about autonomous weapons, just for one second.
It will still be a piece of software somewhere. Bugs will not disappear.
It will still be money, companies behind the systems.

Responsibility and ethics: never give up

  • If we do not want companies run away from their responsibilities by hiding behind some kind of black magic, we should be part of the game.
  • If we do not want to rely on black-boxes in the future, we should be more careful and act now!.

Users, developers, architects, marketers, engineers: we are all responsible.


Two excellent twitter feeds about ethics and responsibility :

Links related to the topic :