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Ari Melber @AriMelber
, 17 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
It's been a minute but I am about to ....


... about Facebook
The Cambridge-Facebook story is important .. not just because of Russia or Trump or Zuckerberg or John Bolton (who used Cambridge) or Bannon or Peter Thiel or the tremendous number of intersections of important people in this story.
With stories like this, people tend to first look at what *rules* have been broken... like FB's app rules that developers agree to, or other laws and regulations that are implicated. BUT...
..Focusing on the minutiae of rules can come at the expense of looking at the moral and societal questions.

Facebook lost $50B because people are learning about this company's core conflict between its business model and the personal rights of its user base.
Any company will pursue profits. But FB has an inherent conflict: They claim to treat users as customers, or "community," but as many tech experts have shown, the customers are *actually the product.*

Users come not second for Facebook, but something like fourth or fifth.
Now @jaywillis asks, Did Cambridge break the law?.. and we don't know.

They caught a search warrant in London today, and Mueller is interested, but the answer could def ultimately be no.

But we do know...
This is the digital firm Trump chose, run by Bannon and the Mercers, who specifically asked if Cambridge could help boost the impact of stolen material released by Wikileaks... that is a *window* into a mindset, even if no technical law was broken.
And thanks to a whistleblower, we are learning Cambridge touted its web manipulation, “information dominance,” and alternative facts—which overlaps with a key tenet of the Trump campaign.
Then there is #Regulation - Zuckerberg now claims he's open to it maybe; but his company paid lobbyists to oppose proposed election disclosure rules for Facebook. The new talk isn't "just talk" - it's misleading based on FB's actual lobbying record.
Tech companies are so new that— by virtue of their youth—they have never been regulated like older industries. That isn't the product of any considered judgment that they don't merit regulation. It's an accidental result of how new they are..
..and of how long it takes Congress to study issues, create agencies, and write laws. Right now, it’s just a patchwork of some media regulation, some Federal Trade Commission regulation, and whatever Congress does or doesn’t do to update existing election laws.
And FB touts their technical acumen for every possible part of the site, except when it comes to resolving problems like these. When they want to fix something, they're pretty good at doing so. When they don’t, the lectures come about how impossible it is to do things.
Now, the drawback to regulation is potential interference with vital innovation. In history, many smart people in Congress (or agencies) were unable to foresee what might be valuable to society, and who made poor regulatory decisions as a result.
Tech companies have a point saying that a rush to enact broad regulation, in response to a particular problem of the moment, can cause more problems than it solves.
But when these companies fight any and all regulation so much, that they suppress any public-private partnership to address these problems, the backlash you earn can be so great that you actually become a handmaiden to your own "over-regulation."
FB might be headed for that.
And today, people are more concerned about someone rifling through their *phone* than going through their bedroom drawers. So what does the Bill of Rights mean online?

We need this debate - with accountability, with CEOs under oath in Congress - and a bit less techsplaining.
Why the Cambridge-Trump-Facebook link matters, and where we go from here -- this thread draws on my longer conversation with attorney @jaywillis that I hope you will consider reading and sharing!...…

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