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Congress, enough with the data privacy and anti-trust pageantry

Deja Vu and Xanax rhetoric

Data privacy and anti-trust issues are very serious matters that need to be handled in a meaningful way. Unfortunately, despite numerous hearings on Capitol Hill, it seems that Congress is a lame duck. 

Feels like Deja Vu: Old Zucky is back on Capitol Hill, explaining how the internet makes money.

It’s a tremendous waste of everyone’s time. Sure, you guys are used to moseying around, but the rest of us – the CEOs of Sillicon Valley – they have important things to attend to (and like, actually deal with them).

If you need the data tracking thing explained to you, give us a call and we’ll walk you through it.

Data privacy for dummies

In fact, here’s the snapshot version: Whenever you log on to a social platform, everything you do….and we do mean everything (yup, even lurking) is recorded as data. If you dwell on a piece of content, if you liked or commented on it, shared it, whatever – data point.

If you, say, liked 20 puppy pictures in a row, the algorithm would note that you’ve added lots of puppy-related data points. Those data points are then mapped out into and compared against folks who have similar patterns of interest. If there’s a strong enough correlation, they might just add you in to a related-interest targeting pool. Just what kinds of data they can collect, cross correlate, share, or sell are all issues of data privacy. 

The way this might look is that maybe you liked a couple MAGA posts. Other people who also liked MAGA also happened to be highly engaged with content about stolen elections, so you might be targeted for that interest based on your prior MAGA engagements, even if you had never personally liked election stealing related content.

That is, in a nutshell, how the algo works. If you need to go over it again, we can reconvene next week.

Diversify your knowledge base….please

What you need is a data scientist among your ranks who can explain this to you. And while we’re at it, you need to hire a data analyst and maybe a high schooler with a solid understanding of how social media works.

That may sounds like a jab. But social media is at the heart of this conversation. You need some more young blood in your ranks. It’s downright bizarre that after the infamous “How to you make money?” deposition, we just had an election that no matter who won the presidency, would have been our oldest-serving president. Now we hate seeing Mark smirk as much as anyone else but, you walked right into that one. #facts

This is not to mock – with years come wisdom that is welcome at any table. But plus include a couple whipper snappers in the conversation.

Smoke and mirrors

It’s not that the concerns at the heart of these depositions isn’t legitimate – they most definitely are. That pattern mapping creates an echo chamber of perspectives. It’s the catalyst for the acrid divisiveness we see today.

The problem is that it feels like Zuckerberg has been in D.C. for years and exactly diddly squat has come from it. This year alone, he’s been in like 5+ depositions. Again, not opposed to the cause, but opposed to the execution.

Deja vu

It actually reminds us of how after the George Floyd protests, one of the resolutions was to outlaw chokeholds. Okay, sounds like a good call.

But, didn’t we already ban that like 7 times? Are we banning it for real real this time? Or is this like the final warning?

We don’t have time for all this pageantry. We’ve got bigger fish to fry. You need to come to these depositions prepared. With the utmost respect, sh*t or get off the pot.

We know you have a long, packed schedule of lolligagging and press conferences to report on the progress of said lolligagging to get back to.

But we implore you: The next time you have a deposition, have a resolution or cancel it.

Because, as a wise woman once said: “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Jokes aside, as alarming technology such as deep fakes and server attacks continue to develop, data privacy needs to be handled seriously. But first, Congress willneed to break up some of those trusts. Progress is disappointing. 

Author

  • Tanja Fijalkowski is an award-winning writer, editor, and designer. A North Bay Area native, she has written for various financial, business, history, and science publications. She's a deep-dive researcher with a strong command of data analysis and simplifying complex concepts.

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