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Are you really buying Facebook’s privacy-focused vision? Op-ed

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TheFacebook launched on the exact same day DARPA’s LifeLog project was reportedly killed. The vision of LifeLog is congruent with current Facebook practices. After all the scandals, are you really buying what Facebook is saying about being privacy-focused?

TheFacebook Launches on the Same Day DARPA’s LifeLog is ‘Killed’

Prior to 2004 the goal of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency‘s (DARPA’s) LifeLog project was “to gather in a single place just about everything an individual says, sees or does: the phone calls made, the TV shows watched, the magazines read, the plane tickets bought, the e-mail sent and received,” according to an article published on February 4, 2004 on Wired

In that same article, MIT’s David Karger was quoted:

“I am sure that such research will continue to be funded under some other title. I can’t imagine Darpa ‘dropping out’ of such a key research area.”

Research will continue to be funded under some other title? Could that be Facebook?

Read More: Big tech employees voicing ethical concerns echo warnings from history: Op-ed

According to MIT Technology Review, “Facebook is a sort of life log—a record of your selfies and achievements over the years—even though linking to news or videos has started to swamp the sharing of personal details.”

Coincidentally in 2004, Peter Thiel invested $500,000 into TheFacebook, according to Fortune. Thiel co-founded Palantir, a company which, according to Bloomberg, uses “War on Terror tools to track American citizens.”

Read More: United Airlines partners with scandal-ridden, CIA-backed Palantir for data initiatives

I have found no mention of anyone from Facebook or DARPA saying that LifeLog was restructured as Facebook. But if you do the research, coincidences abound.

Not only does the mission of LifeLog describe how Facebook operates today, but TheFacebook was launched on February 4, 2004 — the exact same day that Wired announced the death of LifeLog.

According to a Vice report from 2018:

“Not only would a lifelog immortalize users, in a sense, it would also contribute to a growing body of data that military researchers hoped would contribute to the development of artificial intelligence capable of thinking like a human being does.

“LifeLog was an iPhone before there were iPhones, social media before there was social media. It was potential all-seeing government surveillance before anyone worried about the NSA or had heard of Edward Snowden.”

Facebook Frontman Zuckerberg Announces ‘Privacy-Focused Vision’

On March 6, 2019 Facebook frontman Mark Zuckerberg announced “A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking,” and he concluded, “I believe we should be working towards a world where people can speak privately and live freely knowing that their information will only be seen by who they want to see it and won’t all stick around forever.”

Read More: Time to “log out”: Why Facebook’s data scandal isn’t the only thing we should be worried about

In the post, Zuckerberg briefly mentioned Facebook’s history, stating, “Over the last 15 years, Facebook and Instagram have helped people connect with friends, communities, and interests in the digital equivalent of a town square.”

Evidence, not proof, suggests that Facebook’s roots lie within the intelligence community and the Pentagon through DARPA. Even if you don’t believe it originated with DARPA, it is well-documented that Facebook recruited an ex-DARPA chief to run its Building 8 research lab.

“Building 8’s goal at Facebook is to create and ship new, category-defining consumer hardware products that are social first. To do so at scale. And to power this with a breakthrough innovation engine modeled after DARPA”

Remember when Facebook Portal was launched? It was the first and last commercial product that came out of Facebook’s Pentagon-inspired Building 8 research lab — which was reportedly killed, but in reality just reorganized just two months later in December, 2018.

Read More: DARPA is launching an accelerator for small businesses

Facebook Building 8 Modeled After DARPA

Building 8 was launched in 2016 under the direction of former DARPA chief Regina Dugan.

Facebook used to have job listings for Building 8 as October, 2018, but they have since been taken down. The Sociable reported on this when Building 8 was still visibly operational to the public, and the job listing page used to say:

“Building 8’s goal at Facebook is to create and ship new, category-defining consumer hardware products that are social first. To do so at scale. And to power this with a breakthrough innovation engine modeled after DARPA.

“As a team of world-class experts, we drive innovation in the areas of augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, connectivity, and more – and operate on aggressive, fixed timelines with extensive use of partnerships in universities, and small-large businesses.”

Read More: Facebook’s Portal born out of Pentagon-inspired Building 8

Why Focus on Privacy Now?

Why is Zuckerberg announcing a “privacy-focused vision” for social networks now? Do you really believe that a company that models its innovation engine after DARPA would really put privacy at the forefront?

Is Facebook truly pivoting to become an ethical and responsible company, or is Zuckerberg’s vision just that — a vision — a PR stunt — and nothing more? How many violations of privacy and trust has Facebook been guilty of and how many users have been put at risk?

Read More: Facebook ‘breaches user trust’ once again with two factor authentication

On a side note, as of March 6, I can no longer post articles from The Sociable‘s Facebook account because I refused to comply with its two-factor authentication process.

Plausible Deniability: Q on Facebook, DARPA, LifeLog

I’m going to go out on a limb here and do something I’ve never done, and that is acknowledge the phenomenon known as Q because the back channel conversations are in line with The Sociable‘s mission of “dissecting tech’s relationship with society,” and of “discerning truths, wherever they lie.”

I am not looking to credit nor discredit Q, only to reveal what has been alleged regarding Facebook, DARPA, and LifeLog.

Read More: Facebook disguised sponsored ads as regular posts, Adblock Plus fixed that

For those who haven’t heard of Q, the media portrays it as a right-wing conspiracy theory, and the media usually runs with stories that come from the beliefs of people who follow Q instead of what Q actually posts.

Others believe that Q is a military intelligence psyop that uses 8chan as a back channel to relay information of what is going on behind the scenes to the public.

The group known as Q has the luxury of plausible deniability in that the information it posts is heavily coded, sometimes blending allegedly real intelligence with disinformation, but it always leaves breadcrumbs for people to do the research and to think for themselves.

I think this is where the media gets Q wrong — the media goes after what Q followers interpret as their own truths rather than what Q actually posts, although all information should be looked upon with a critical eye.

You don’t have to believe what Q says, and you should always think for yourself. That being said, here are just two of the latest posts from Q on the DARPA, Facebook, LifeLog and privacy connections for you to discern at your own discretion:

Let’s Start a Conversation

Anonymity is a double-edged sword. Even if you don’t believe anything that Q posts, you can do the research for yourself to come to your own conclusions.

However, regarding Facebook’s ties to DARPA — this is has all been widely reported as being true — even from Facebook itself regarding Building 8.

If you do follow Q, don’t get caught up in the speculation. Read between the lines. There’s more going on than you think. If you don’t follow Q, keep doing your own research anyway. There is always more than one side to every story, including that of Q.

All mentions of Q aside, and based on Facebook’s history alone, do you really buy what the social media is saying regarding a “privacy-focused vision?”

Do you agree or disagree with what I have written? Let’s start a conversation.

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Tim Hinchliffe
Tim Hinchliffe is the editor of The Sociable. His passions include writing about how technology impacts society and the parallels between Artificial Intelligence and Mythology. Previously, he was a reporter for the Ghanaian Chronicle in West Africa and an editor at Colombia Reports in South America. tim@sociable.co