Facebook has spent $130 million setting up a so-called “independent content oversight board” – but its make-up shows that nothing will change about the tech giant’s sinister use of mass surveillance and censorship.
Facebook’s market capitalization is close to $700 billion and its primary businesses are publishing, advertising and data collection. During the global lockdown, Facebook boasted that the number of its daily active users (DAUs) on average for March 2020 was 1.73 billion. For 2019, it reported a headcount of 48,268 employees as well as an advertising revenue of $17.44 billion.
Facebook users are “the product” that Facebook sells. In a New Yorker interview, Zuckerberg once admitted to describing Facebook’s users who were trusting him with their personal information by saying: “They trust me – dumb f**ks.”
As we saw in the case of Cambridge Analytica, Facebook data was sold to third parties and used to help political campaigns. In 2018, after hearing testimony from Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie before the UK Parliament, Damian Collins, chair of the UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) demanded that Zuckerberg appear to answer questions regarding Analytica’s harvesting of user data – aka data misuse. While Analytica claimed only 30 million Facebook users were impacted, other sources said up to 90 million users were exposed. We were never able to determine precisely what the number was.
When Facebook’s public relations surrounding the Analytica nightmare hit the fan, Zuckerberg hired former British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as VP of global affairs and communications to deal with data protection, fake news, and government regulation. Slowly, the Cambridge Analytica scandal simply faded away from the news cycle.