Thursday, April 12, 2018

Democrats blame Zuck, Facebook for their own past laziness



Daniel Henninger puts the most convincing spin yet on Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony.  That is to say, it wasn’t Mark’s job to catch Russian bots, it was Obama’s.  Hillary Clinton didn’t lose the election because of Facebook, or because of the Comey letter;  she lost because she ran a complacent campaign and had behaved badly herself, at least in terms of showing the technical competence to run things now. And, of course, there is the Electoral College problem. 
  
Of course, Trump isn’t competent either;  and both parties now have problems attracting the right kind of talent to run for public office.  That’s a systematic failure.  You can imagine people a lot more capable of actually doing the job of being president:  Chris Cuomo, Anderson Cooper, both journalists and both rather geeky.  David Hogg turned 18 today, and he talks like he really wants to do public service.  17 years too young.  The irony is one wonders how Mark Zuckerberg would function in office.  Asperger’s syndrome in the White House?  You can imagine some business executives a lot more suited than Trump – Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran (both on Shark Tank), and Tim Cook.  Suddenly the idea of LGBT candidates comes up, maybe even trans (who knows national security better than Kristin Beck?)
  
  
Seriously, we really do have a problem.  Raising money for candidates seems pimpy and unwelcome.  But that’s part of our own cultural divide, the enemies can exploit.  Maybe we have to get over that. 
  
Of course we have to take into account Cambridge's claim that the data wasn't used for the election -- and now there is speculation about a possible paid version of Facebook. 
   
There is a conceptual problem with the way we have leveraged user-generated content, offered by speakers who (like me) want to be noticed and be seen as “influencers” without going through the grime of partisanship.  We sensed some of this back around 2005 when there was a flap over the idea that bloggers could be unintentionally making de facto campaign contributions with free content (not paying its own way the way normally published material did).  Since vanity publishing had not become a practicable vehicle for self-expression until the late 90s, there is a certain gratuitousness to it – apart from its challenge to working with others in a spirit of shared partisanship (or “solidarity”).  That alone sets up the possibility of combining truly hacked information (like from Equifax) on the dark web with provocative speech to target identifiable individuals – taking what the Russians did with groups (pitting them against each other) to a new, more dangerous level.  But a lot of this had been going on before Cambridge made its heist.  This sounds like a profound problem in the way we conduct our “politics” and it relates to our personal morals, our personal stake in other people.  
  
April 13:   I had a conversation today indicating that Aleksandr Kogan was the main conduit for misuse of Cambridge data, based on one personality survey he had put on Facebook

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