Facebook Feels The Pressure As Whistleblowers Step Forward

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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A number of people with insider information about Facebook have come out in recent days and weeks to express their respective, but similar deep-seated concerns with the social media company.

Justin Rosenstein, famous for creating the “like” button, for instance, said in October that “our minds can be hijacked” by such “addictive technologies,” according to The Guardian. Now a former higher up, he once described the “like” feature as “bright dings of pseudo-pleasure.”

Founding President of Facebook Sean Parker said earlier in the month that he’s worried about the pervasiveness and perpetually-growing influence of social media platforms like Facebook.

“It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other,” Parker said, according to Axios. “It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

Referring to himself as “something of a conscientious objector” in the industry — since he was one of the original leaders and is now a critic — Parker said he’s not too sure if he really understood the impact of social media at the time of its nascency and advent.

“The hard reality is that Facebook will never try to limit such use of their data unless the public uproar reaches such a crescendo as to be un-mutable,” Facebook product manager Antonio Garcia-Martinez told The Guardian, describing the conglomerate’s utilization of users’ online behavioral information.

And the airing of grievances continues.

(via GIPHY)

Roger McNamee, a venture capitalist who invested in Facebook early on, indirectly echoed similar sentiments last week, saying that Facebook doesn’t really care about consumers’ privacy.

“Did you sign up at the beginning to have them use your information for the rest of your life? To sell it to people for uses other than Facebook?” McNamee asked, according to CNBC. “And for them to look for pictures of you everywhere they can find them and identify everything you’re doing? Did you actually sign up for that? Do you even know — does any of us know — what’s in the user agreement?”

And a former Facebook operations manager wrote an op-ed for The New York Times titled “We Can’t Trust Facebook to Regulate Itself,” which included arguments for government intervention in the social media marketplace.

The collective clamoring from former Facebook executives and investors — who were once gung-ho about the company and its offerings — seemed to catch its attention. (RELATED: BuzzFeed Wants You To Fear Facebook’s Algorithms)

In an apparent response — “We’ve seen allegations that we don’t care how people’s data is used” — Justin Osofsky, vice president of Global Operations, wrote a blog post detailing how it protects people’s data.

“While it’s fair to criticize how we enforced our developer policies more than five years ago, it’s untrue to suggest we didn’t or don’t care about privacy,” said Osofsky. “The facts tell a different story.”

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