Mozilla: "We’re taking a break from Facebook"

Florian Snow floriansnow at
Fri Mar 23 16:48:35 UTC 2018

Hi Jonke,

I can't help but feel this is a PR stunt from Mozilla.  Facebook
recently had a privacy scandal, but Facebook is the same it has always
been.  Asking them to reform their business is pointless because they
make money tracking users, so they can't stop tracking them.  Also, at
the end of the message, Mozilla asks people to use Twitter instead and
while Twitter does not ask for photos of users and names and such, it is
still able to track users through the web.  So in my opinion, Mozilla is
not all that serious here.

On a sidenote, I think Facebook is a symptom of a privacy issue we as a
society have, but one that is currently starting to fail.  Not because
people realized it tracks them, but because they are choosing to be
tracked by someone else.  A lot of young people do not use Facebook
anymore, they use Snapchat and the likes and that is why Facebook had to
buy Whatsapp - to stay relevant.

Regarding your implied question of whether the FSFE should have a
Facebook account, my answer is still yes, under certain conditions.
First of all, the FSFE is an organization, not a person (and no,
corporations are also not people!), so being tracked has completely
different implications.  The FSFE as a legal entity is not entitled to
privacy or any other human rights so our information is mostly public
anyway (and should be).  What we should not do is tell other people to
sign up for Facebook.  That is why it is important for us to always
clearly state (on Facebook or whichever privacy-troubled platform) that
we do not support the platform and that people should not sign up for
it.  That way, we make clear that our presence on the platform is not a
stamp of approval.  We also need to make sure there is never any content
from us on those platforms before it is also on other platforms so
people always have a privacy respecting source available.

If we meet those conditions, I think we can gain from being on platforms
like Facebook because we can reach people that we would not reach
otherwise and hopefully, in the process, they will become more aware of
Facebook's privacy issues.  I think we should have a voice of dissent on
a platform we find problematic instead of leaving it to voices of
approval.  Or to put it another way:  If you want to warn people about
the dangers of X, you need to talk to people who use X (and X can be
anything: non-free software, drugs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

I didn't arrive at this position lightly:  I want the FSFE to be a
beacon of freedom and privacy.  I want the FSFE to always bahave in
accordance with its principles.  For a long time, that made me think we
should not be on platforms like Facebook, but then I realized the
different implications if we as an organization are on Facebook or we as
a community:  I think the former can be done in accordance with our
principles, but not the latter.

Happy hacking!

More information about the Discussion mailing list