Tim Cook: Silicon Valley’s most successful companies are selling you out

Apple CEO Tim Cook has made no secret of his disdain for online services that ask you to trade highly personal data for convenience — a trade that describes most big advertising-supported technology companies. But last night, in some of his strongest comments to date, Cook said the erosion of privacy represents a threat to the American way of life. Cook spoke at a dinner in Washington, DC, hosted by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which honored him as a “champion of freedom” for his leadership at Apple.

“Our privacy is being attacked on multiple fronts,” Cook said in a speech that he delivered remotely, according to EPIC. “I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information. They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”

Israel, Gaza, War & Data – The Art of Personalizing Propaganda

The better we get at modeling user preferences, the more accurately we construct recommendation engines that fully capture user attention. In a way, we are building personalized propaganda engines that feeds users content which makes them feel good and throws away the uncomfortable bits. We used to be able to hold media accountable for misinforming the public. Now we only have ourselves to blame.

Facebook study says it’s your fault, not theirs, if your feed is all like-minded friends

Is Facebook an echo chamber? Does the social network help us create filter bubbles, through which we’re only exposed to content and opinions that are like our own? According to the company, not really.

In new study published today in the journal Science, Facebook claims that it’s mostly humans, not its News Feed ranking algorithm, that are at fault for making their feeds ideologically consistent.

“While News Feed surfaces content that is slightly more aligned with an individual’s own ideology (based on that person’s actions on Facebook), who they friend and what content they click on are more consequential than the News Feed ranking in terms of how much diverse content they encounter,” according to Facebook’s Data Science page.

Facebook Is Eating the Internet

The state of the media in 2015 begins and ends with the tech giant.

Facebook, it seems, is unstoppable. The social publishing site, just 11 years old, is now the dominant force in American media. It drives a quarter of all web traffic. In turn, Facebook sucks up a huge portion of ad revenue—the money that keeps news organizations running—and holds an enormous captive audience.

Facebook tracks users, even those who don’t use it, says privacy report

Belgium’s data protection body has accused the social network of using plug-ins and cookies to follow users who have deleted their profile or never signed up for an account.That means the social media giant is breaching European law requiring users to choose whether to have tracking cookies placed on their device or not.

Many, many Facebook users still don’t know that their news feeds are filtered by an algorithm

For heavy Facebook users, let alone social media gurus, the idea that Facebook’s news feed is filtered by an algorithm is very, very old news. But a majority of everyday Facebook users in a recent study had no idea that Facebook constructs their experience, pushing certain posts into their stream and leaving others out. And worse, many participants blamed themselves, not Facebook’s software, when friends or family disappeared from their news feeds.

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