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Technology & Innovation

Is Facebook (Sufficiently) Spy-Friendly?

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange warns that Facebook is the “most appalling spy machine ever invented.” But businesses complain it is too hard to search its data.

What’s the Latest Development?

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told Russia Today that Facebook was the “most appalling spy machine that has ever been invented.” FB users who add their friend to the social network are “doing free work for US Intelligence agencies, in building this electronic database for them.” Meanwhile over at Social Media Today, Bill James laments that searching and sharing social network data for regular users is not as easy as it should be. He suggests that FB’s “primitive search function for personal users” is deliberate and “makes perfect sense in the context of trying to force business users to advertise in Facebook.”

What’s the Big Idea?

A Persistent Sense of Unease over where all this sharing will (should?) lead us. Will the CIA one day lead us to regret liking that political satire page or telling the world where our loyalties lie? What will we gain or lose as consumers if business finds it easier to know what brands we like and use? And is Facebook going to lose ground in the global economy if it doesn’t cough up better returns for business users. “The market for social functionality in digital media is beginning to behave like the global market for capital…If the return on effort made to build a social network is higher in one social application than another, or the ‘black markets’ of the ‘follow back etiquette’ offer huge returns for the network builder, users will move their time and effort to those applications and those URLs.”


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