Higher powers tell me that trade wars work.
They bring a little jolt to the status quo. They create a frisson of fear in at least one of the parties. They might even drag a little justice in their wake.
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These trying thoughts come to me because I’m tired.
I’m tired of Facebook flouting privacy and decency in the relentless pursuit of money, power, and the constant surveillance of every human on Earth.
I’m tired of Facebook’s executives mumbling that they’ll do better when you know that what they’ll try to do better is to hide what they’re really doing.
And I’m tired of reading about how much lower Facebook is prepared to go to achieve its aims.
The latest incident involves a so-called research app that slid past Apple’s app rules and paid teenagers for the privilege of Facebook following them around everywhere.
Apple reacted by temporarily banning Facebook’s internal iOS apps.
I can’t help wondering, though, whether Apple shouldn’t just ban all of Facebook’s apps until it can be satisfied it is not performing in underhand ways.
No more Messenger, no more Instagram, no more WhatsApp. It would surely be a colonic irrigation of the soul, as well as an actual way to stop Facebook in its tracking.
I hear you howl that this would be a frightful abuse of power.
Well, it depends on how you define abuse. When a company like Facebook has been abusing trust since its inception, it’s hard not to think that the only thing it’ll ever understand is the sound of silence.
For all its power, Facebook relies on devices made by others. It’s never managed to sell devices of its own, after all.
Apple just boasted that it has 1.4 billion active devices worldwide. That would represent a lot of lost business for Facebook — and goodness, Facebook adores making money.
Of course, iPhone users would wail. Worse, Facebook users don’t seem to care about this privacy thing at all, as they ensure that Facebook makes ever greater profits.
But if Apple’s insistence that it stands for privacy as a moral right is to mean anything, then a little radical action wouldn’t go amiss.
It’s not as if government is in any state to derail the likes of Facebook — though European governments are a little more active in this sphere.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been increasingly critical of the likes of Facebook and Google and their cavalier privacy habits.
Banning Facebook apps — even if for only a while — might have the effect of not only chastening Facebook a little, but of driving others such as Google into greater drifts of decency, as well as getting users to pay a little more attention to what’s going on.
The sad truth is that nothing else has worked. And it might be quite fun to see if Mark Zuckerberg is able to blink.
Why not be a radical? I hear it’s in vogue these days.
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