PRIVACY? REALLY? IN YOUR FACE, FACEBOOK – By CARY ICHTER

Apparently, the chattering class is all in a tizzy about a company named Cambridge Analytica that accessed certain Facebook information–things like their name, location, email or friends list—and used it for the benefit of the Trump campaign.  Now, the big question here is: What the hell is the problem?

Some would say, “Well, these people access private information from Facebook without authorization.” Really? Are you kidding me?  Private information on Facebook?  What private information?  Doesn’t the information put on Facebook immediately become public?  Does anyone really have any realistic expectation of privacy for information posted on Facebook? Well, various courts have said NO.  A recent Florida Court of Appeals decision, Nucci v. Target Corp., explained that:

[G]enerally, the photographs posted on a social networking site are neither privileged nor protected by any right of privacy, regardless of any privacy settings that the user may have established. Such posted photographs are unlike medical records or communications with one’s attorney, where disclosure is confined to narrow, confidential relationships. Facebook itself does not guarantee privacy. By creating a Facebook account, a user acknowledges that her personal information would be shared with others. “Indeed, that is the very nature and purpose of these social networking sites else they would cease to exist.” 

And do users really expect privacy?  Hell no.  The people who are posting to Facebook all the time are, in the main, hopeless narcissists who are publicizing their lives because they require constant attention. (Is this piece being posted on social media?  Well, never mind that).

I have read many articles about the Cambridge Analytica’s use of data extracted from Facebook, and I have yet to see a single sentence that indicates that some sensitive, private person information was made public that harmed anyone in any way.  It would appear that the great sin committed in this situation was that Facebook allowed an entity working for Trump to access information used to enable Trump to win the election.

How could such a heretical thing occur?  Answer: The same way it occurred in 2012 when the Obama campaign accessed Facebook data to target its campaign messages.  Proving once again that the only thing that is more common in politics than dishonesty is hypocrisy.

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