…Facebook didnâ€™t intend for any of this to happen. It just wanted to connect people. But there is a thread running from Perkinsâ€™ death to religious violence in Myanmar and the companyâ€™s half-assed attempts at combating fake news. Facebook really is evil. Not on purpose. In the banal kind of way.
Underlying all of Facebookâ€™s screw-ups is a bumbling obliviousness to real humans. The companyâ€™s singular focus on â€œconnecting peopleâ€ has allowed it to conquer the world, making possible the creation of a vast network of human relationships, a source of insights and eyeballs that makes advertisers and investors drool.
But the imperative to â€œconnect peopleâ€ lacks the one ingredient essential for being a good citizen: Treating individual human beings as sacrosanct. To Facebook, the world is not made up of individuals, but of connections between them. The billions of Facebook accounts belong not to â€œpeopleâ€ but to â€œusers,â€ collections of data points connected to other collections of data points on a vast Social Network, to be targeted and monetized by computer programs.
There are certain things you do not in good conscience do to humans. To data, you can do whatever you like.