Facebook vs. NYU: Battleground: Data Collection

BOSTON (AP) — Academics, journalists and First Amendment lawyers are rallying behind New York University researchers in a showdown with Facebook over its demand that they halt the collection of data showing who is being micro-targeted by political ads on the world’s dominant social media platform.

The researchers say the disputed tool is vital to understanding how Facebook has been used as a conduit for disinformation and manipulation.
In an Oct. 16 letter to the researchers, a Facebook executive demanded [NYU Tandon School of Engineering] disable a special plug-in for Chrome and Firefox browsers that they have distributed to thousands of volunteers across the U.S. — and delete the data obtained. The plug-in lets [NYU] researchers see which ads are shown to each volunteer; Facebook lets advertisers tailor ads based on specific demographics that go far beyond race, age, gender and political preference.


The fact that Zuckbook does not want anyone to see what is going on here is certain confirmation that we need to see it. I doubt it is a case of proprietary information, more a case of how embarrassed Zuckbook will be if it gets out. They KNOW how evil they are; they just hope enough of the rest of the world doesn’t realise just how bad it is, and will take any steps to keep it that way.


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