Apple, Google have apologized for privacy issues but Facebook is just sorry they got caugh...

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Apple's shutting down all of Facebook's internal apps seemed like a big deal, but it's just business as usual for the social media company -- violate agreements and trust, get caught, find another way to do the same thing and move on.

You know that Facebook HQ actually has the thumbs-up icon
You know that Facebook HQ actually has the thumbs-up icon


Everyone apologizes, but no one actually says sorry. The very word apology has even regularly been turned into an insult, such as when you hear politicians saying "We apologize if anyone was affected."

Facebook isn't even doing that. We are the people whose private data is keeping them in business. We are the people whose data it wanted to mine, and it was completely happy to flout contractual agreements in order to get it. We are not the people who get an apology.

Maybe Facebook said something apologetic to Apple in order to get its apps back, but it hasn't apologized to anybody publicly -- and its statements don't exactly show a lot of remorse.

Apple and Google have done a bit better than that. Apple didn't actually say the word sorry for the rather huge Group FaceTime bug but it has apologized and it did so reasonably well.
We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected and all who were concerned about this security issue. We appreciate everyone's patience as we complete this process.
You might or might not believe them, you might or might not figure that it's a public relations exercise. At least Apple said something and didn't try to qualify it with an "if."

Apple's FaceTime flub shouldn't have been as high-profile as it was. When you glanced at your phone, it is true that there was a possibility that the person calling you was already listening in on your room and that was bad. Still, claims of people being able to listen forever or even see you too were exaggerated and so in practice, just about the worst possible scenario could be that they got to hear you groan -- and wonder aloud what that freaking guy wants now.

In comparison, Facebook and Google were deliberately, purposely mining for data. Yet Google has at least half-heartedly apologized for it.
This was a mistake, and we apologize.
This may have been a mistake, but it was hardly an accident. Nobody at Google tripped and accidentally typed a command that released the Screenwise Meter app to people. And then, nobody at Google then stopped this app until what it was doing was reported in the press.

Still, Google earns half a point here because as well as apologizing, it did switch off this app before Apple forced it to.

Apple then forced it to, just to make certain, and this was done by Google having its enterprise developer certificates revoked. These were specifically enterprise developer certificates rather than the regular ones you need to publish apps on the App Store. Consequently, no public Google app was affected but all internal ones were.

That's what happened at Facebook first, except that Facebook didn't switch off anything voluntarily. Apple closed down all of Facebook's internal apps, and it was only then that the social media company did anything to put things right.

Except, Facebook took action to put things right for itself and no one else. Again, no public apps were affected so unless you knew it was happening, you couldn't tell. Your Facebook, Instagram and Messenger iOS apps continued to work on your iPhone and iPad without a hiccup.

It looks like you're never going to be able to tell, either. Apple has restored Facebook's developer certificate -- and Google's too -- so all is well. For Facebook. And, the rampant news cycle has churned on.

We have all become cynical about apologies. We've come to see them as meaningless words issued as PR or as required by courts. So even if this were Facebook's first offense, we would struggle to believe that any apology was genuine.

As it is far from their first time, there's not a chance we would believe it. There is no circumstance now in which we could end up thinking that Mark Zuckerberg is a stand-up guy for how he admits to his company's actions.

Yet we'd still like to try.

Facebook's never really to blame for anything. These are unused anti-Apple notes that Mark Zuckerberg brought when he was supposed to be explaining his own company's actions
These are unused anti-Apple notes that Mark Zuckerberg brought to Congress when he was supposed to be explaining his own company's actions (Source: AP Photo)


There has been no public apology from Facebook in any way. There has been no public comment beyond tweets saying that it's been handled. The only thing there appears to have been is an internal Facebook memo to its staff, and that one is so very far away from being contrite.

Business Insider got this memo and Techcrunch, which originally broke this story, has ripped it apart.

In short, the Facebook memo is telling its staff that the company and its app did nothing wrong. It even pulls off that kind of politicians' apology tone. "Apple's view is that we violated their terms by sideloading this app," says the memo, "and they decide the rules for their platform."

Translation: we're completely in the right but Apple took their ball away.

There is one conciliatory note in that memo. "Our relationship with Apple is really important," wrote the company. "We wouldn't put that relationship at any risk intentionally."

Remember that this memo is not public, it was written solely for Facebook's own staff. And it's telling them that Facebook would not intentionally endanger its relationship with Apple -- but all the staff can see the same things as we can. They can see Facebook knew it was breaking the rules of its agreement, they can see that Facebook intentionally did all this.

So privately, Facebook is treating its staff as idiots. Publicly, Facebook is treating all of us as idiots - just without actually saying anything.

It is now extremely unlikely that Facebook will issue any kind of public apology. Given what Facebook did now and has done before, given how it's acting internally and ignoring the rest of us, there is just one thing that's more likely than our seeing an apology of any kind.

Facebook will undoubtedly continue to find ways to mine our personal data for profit. It is the reason they exist. If they have to bend rules that other companies have put into place, just south of shattering those rules, then they will do so and have demonstrated this over, and over.

If you follow technology or security news, then you now know that Facebook cannot be trusted. And yet the company is fine with that because there will always be other users to exploit.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    Facebook, 3 strikes you’re out.

    For some reason a large percentage of the population doesn’t care... baffling. 
    DAalsethjahbladelolliverjbdragonolswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 8
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 4,306member
    "Remember that this memo is not public, it was written solely for Facebook's own staff."

    The memo was very probably written, knowing that it would not remain within the confines of the company.

    As for myself, I depend on WhatsApp as the de facto instant messaging service that reaches all my contacts.

    I use FB very rarely and under a false name and with lots of false information. I learnt not to trust the company when, in its early days, updates would miraculously uncheck some of my previously set privacy options. You literally never knew when it would unlock your privacy options all by itself and without your consent.

    That's when I said to myself I would use it for consultation only. I do the same with Twitter and never used Google +.

    It is somewhat unsettling that WhatsApp is part of FB and they have announced plans to merge the functionality of their three main messaging protocols. We'll have to wait and see how that plays out, though.


    jahbladeracerhomie3
  • Reply 3 of 8
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,478member
    Facebook, 3 strikes you’re out.

    For some reason a large percentage of the population doesn’t care... baffling. 
    Correct, and until “a large percentage of the population” does care nothing will be done. Right now it’s all posturing by corporations and politicians. The data mining business model is so engrained in the economy that changing it could cause major issues. Imagine Google and Facebook without customer data. Imagine the advertising business without targeted ads. Politicians know full well that true privacy could disrupt the economy, cost billions of dollars, and affect thousand upon thousands of jobs. Making data collection a mandatory opt-in requirement could be very disruptive. That’s why we will continue to have hearings, pontifications about privacy from politicians and mea culpas from corporations like Facebook and Google.
    edited February 4 fotoformatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 8
    croprcropr Posts: 966member
    lkrupp said:

    Making data collection a mandatory opt-in requirement could be very disruptive
    Since May it is already the case in the EU with the GDPR regulation.  Looking back at it was not that disruptive.  But it still remains to be seen if the Facebook and other data collecting companies are actually fully compliant.
    edited February 4 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 8
    I agree with the editorial 100%. On Jan. 31 the Washington Post reported on a study which found that when people quit using Facebook for a month, the quality of their lives improved — according to those individuals themselves, not an outside expert. Since FB has 2.3 billion members, it is doing a lot of damage to world happiness. It pollutes social life, and should be taxed like carbon emissions.
    edited February 4 fotoformatjbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 8
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,824member
    lkrupp said:
    Facebook, 3 strikes you’re out.

    For some reason a large percentage of the population doesn’t care... baffling. 
    Correct, and until “a large percentage of the population” does care nothing will be done. Right now it’s all posturing by corporations and politicians. The data mining business model is so engrained in the economy that changing it could cause major issues. Imagine Google and Facebook without customer data. Imagine the advertising business without targeted ads. Politicians know full well that true privacy could disrupt the economy, cost billions of dollars, and affect thousand upon thousands of jobs. Making data collection a mandatory opt-in requirement could be very disruptive. That’s why we will continue to have hearings, pontifications about privacy from politicians and mea culpas from corporations like Facebook and Google.
    These people were getting paid for using the app.   Probably something that they really appreciated $240 for three years is enough for them to afford an iPhone.   Now I guess the kids will have to trade down to an android.   I know family who only use their computer and phone for facebook (they aren't the Computer Type) and when I explain that Facebook makes things public they don't care.
  • Reply 7 of 8
    I agree with the editorial 100%. On Jan. 31 the Washington Post reported on a study which found that when people quit using Facebook for a month, the quality of their lives improved — according to those individuals themselves, not an outside expert. Since FB has 2.3 billion members, it is doing a lot of damage to world happiness. It pollutes social life, and should be taxed like carbon emissions.
    I have been commenting for some time here and in other places that Facebook is an evil social media app that people seam to need like ICE or Crack. I have also advocated that Apple should get into the space but do it differently so it promotes the human connection that social media seams to lack. One thought I had was integrating call features into the app to prompt more people to reach out and talk to their friends and family about what they have just seen posted. This lack of human contact is the big failing of social media that all the psychological researchers are concluding. And of course if Apple is doing it your data is going to be safe.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 8
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,314member
    I think Apple should have pulled their certificate for ALL Facebook owned apps. But, unfortunately, that won't happen.

    lkrupp said:
    Correct, and until “a large percentage of the population” does care nothing will be done. Right now it’s all posturing by corporations and politicians. The data mining business model is so engrained in the economy that changing it could cause major issues. Imagine Google and Facebook without customer data. Imagine the advertising business without targeted ads. Politicians know full well that true privacy could disrupt the economy, cost billions of dollars, and affect thousand upon thousands of jobs. Making data collection a mandatory opt-in requirement could be very disruptive. That’s why we will continue to have hearings, pontifications about privacy from politicians and mea culpas from corporations like Facebook and Google.
    Besides that, having platforms which can be leveraged for propaganda, or controlling what news gets treated as valid vs fake is becoming increasingly important. Having Facebook and Google in your pocket is important to governments.
    watto_cobra
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