No rhetorical sleight of hand, such as Zuckerberg’s disingenuous claim that “we don’t sell your data,” can obfuscate that fact. His claim makes a technical distinction. Obviously, Facebook does not part ways with the data we give it in exchange for money from advertisers. They hold onto this precious commodity and sell insights into who we are and what we do to advertisers, treating it as a renewable and recyclable resource.
Indeed, Facebook’s business model relies on amassing as much personal information as possible. Zuckerberg admits this in his piece, saying Facebook aims to collect “what pages people like, what they click on, and other signals.” The latest illustration of this intent appeared in a recent New York Times report that Facebook plans to integrate Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp into a unified platform, which will dramatically increase their holistic knowledge and insights of users and their behavior.
All of this is emblematic of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s stark warning that we have allowed companies to create a “data industrial complex” in which “companies know you better than you may know yourself.”
Let’s not be fooled or distracted by semantic debate. We are being monetized and sold.
Yes, but… it’s working: Facebook’s Stock Surges 7 Percent on Huge Q4 Sales, Massive User Growth.