On February 8, CNIL, the French data protection(ist) authority, has issued the company with a formal notice that, cutting a long story short, sounds like "stop tracking non-users in France within 3 months, otherwise you'll get sanctioned."
Translated: "if you want to track visitors' behaviour like any website on Earth you'll have to show a (crappy) cookie warning on Facebook." And then the formal notice goes ahead like a shocked European bureaucrat pulling out hair.
First point first: if you are European like me you'll understand how much cookie warnings are a pain in the ass.
Say you're looking for a purse, your girlfriend's birthday it's tonite and it's the goddamn fifth time you come by the store this week. And yet no salesperson is recognizing you and you get asked what the hell you're looking for.
You'd be bloody pissed off, wouldn't you? Then, take Facebook as a clerk on NZT.
(NZT, if you don't know what we're talking about)
Is canary-yellow your favorite color? What sex are you attracted to? Clinton or Sanders? The AI-powered data mining Moloch knows everything about you, knows even stuff you ignore, like other people's conversations about you. The real problem lying underneath however is not about privacy, and you'll get why. Of course, this is nothing but a point of view, but to me the biggest question seems another one: whether or not omniscient clerks should be accepted in a Homo Sapiens Sapiens society. Since there wouldn't be any problem if all clerks were just dumb!
Aside from Singularitarian dissertations anyway, cookies are the bread and butter of any blog/e-commerce/online service or corporate website. A/B testing anyone? So there it is my concern: if any website features cookies, what's the point of this punch-me-as-I-come banner? Guess at the beginning of Polaroid's boom people weren't overwhelmed by road signs like "WARNING! PEOPLE COULD TAKE A PICTURE OF YOU, AND ACCORDING TO SOME BOZO LEGEND, THIS COULD EVENTUALLY STEAL YOUR SOUL."
Point #2: France is actually building a Stalinist surveillance system worse than the Patriot Act
Because we cannot read news #1 without considering this. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, time was ripe for a 1984 twist in the French democracy. Approved by 77 per cent of the members of the Assemblee Nationale on July 24 2015, the law obliges French Internet service providers and hosting companies to install a new system in their infrastructure to filter all traffic. This system will automatically search for clues of terrorist activity - clues like you watching a video about terrorism.
A new institution, nominated by ARCEP, will be in charge of this brand new intelligence system. Yeah, it's not a joke. Hollande is on his way to making Bush turn pale.
According to French propaganda, they are doing this just to stop terrorists.
Also the NSA was listening to the Pope's and Angela Merkel's phone calls to stop terrorists.
Hell, terrorists, how high-class you are!
We could be scared by Facebook intrusiveness, but can we seriously trust France as a democratic organization? Can we trust an organization which fools us into thinking it cares for our privacy, then build such a privacy-killer Orwellian system that filters any content - and god knows what it's going to do with it?