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至于吗? 为什么应该担心Facebook

本文摘要:Facebook’s quarterly earnings, released last month, have surpassed most market expectations, sending its stock price to an all-time high. They have also confirmed the company’s Teflon credentials: no public criticism ever seems to stick.Fa


Facebook’s quarterly earnings, released last month, have surpassed most market expectations, sending its stock price to an all-time high. They have also confirmed the company’s Teflon credentials: no public criticism ever seems to stick.Facebook上月发布的季度业绩远超过了市场中大多数人的预期,股价因此被引升到有史以来的最高点。这再度表明,它样子给自己的看板涂抹了一层“特氟龙”,任何公众抨击都不了“硬”在上面。Wall Street has already forgiven Facebook’s experiment on its users, in which some had more negative posts removed from their feeds while another group had more positive ones removed. This revealed that those exposed to positive posts feel happier and write more positive posts as a result. This, in turn, results in more clicks, which result in more advertising revenue.华尔街也已原谅了Facebook对用户所做到的一个实验。

在那个实验里,在用户不知情的情况下,Facebook在其中一些用户的朋友动态中移除了较多消极帖子,而在另一些用户的朋友动态中移除了较多大力的帖子。结果显示,那些看见更加多大力帖子的人感觉更加幸福一些,于是他们不会收到更加多大力的帖子,这反过来减少了点击量,从而能带给更加多广告收益。Troubling ethics notwithstanding, the experiment has revealed a deeper shift in Facebook’s business model: the company can make money even when it deigns to allow its users a modicum of privacy. It no longer needs to celebrate ubiquitous sharing – only ubiquitous clicking.这次实验带给的道德问题不得已不讲,它更加说明了了Facebook商业模式的深层次变化:即便它屈尊赏赐用户一点隐私权,仍然能保证滚滚财源。

这家公司所尊崇的,仍然是“无所不在的共享”,而是“无所不在的页面”。At the earnings call, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that the company now aims to create “private spaces for people to share things and have interactions that they couldn’t have had elsewhere”. So Facebook has recently allowed users to see how they are being tracked, and even to fine tune such tracking in order to receive only those adverts they feel are relevant. The company, once a cheerleader for sharing, has even launched a nifty tool warning users against “oversharing”.在公布季报时的电话会议上,Facebook首席执行官马克扎克伯格(Mark Zuckerberg)否认,Facebook现在的目标是“为人们创建私人空间,让他们可以共享信息,构建他们在其它环境中无法构建的对话”。基于这个目标,Facebook最近已容许用户查阅该网站如何追踪他们的数据,甚至还容许用户对数据的用于方式展开微调,从而可以只接到他们感兴趣的广告。

这家当初极力希望用户间共享的公司,甚至还发售了一种工具,能警告用户避免“过度共享”。As usual with Facebook, this is not the whole story. For one, it has begun tracking users’ browsing history to identify their interests better. Its latest mobile app can identify songs and films playing nearby, nudging users to write about them. It has acquired the Moves app, which does something similar with physical activity, using sensors to recognise whether users are walking, driving or cycling.和Facebook所做到的其它事情一样,这不是事情的全貌。首先,为了更加精确地理解用户兴趣所在,Facebook早就开始追踪用户的网页历史。

该公司近期发售的一款移动应用于能辨别用户附近播出的歌曲和电影,并希望用户对它们作出评价。同时,该公司还并购了Moves应用于,这款应用于能利用手机内的传感器,追踪用户的运动状态,辨别他们是在走路、驾车还是在骑自行车。Still, if Facebook is so quick to embrace – and profit from – the language of privacy, should privacy advocates not fear they are the latest group to be “disrupted”? Yes, they should: as Facebook’s modus operandi mutates, their vocabulary ceases to match the magnitude of the task at hand. Fortunately, the “happiness” experiment also shows us where the true dangers lie.但是,Facebook既然在一开始就热情拒绝接受了“维护隐私”这种众说纷纭,并借此盈利,个人隐私的维护者们怎么会不应担忧,他们有可能沦为又一个“被带上扯了的”团体?到底,他们显然应当深感担忧:随着Facebook大大转变作法,它所定义的“隐私”已与“维护隐私”这个确实目标相去甚远。


所幸的是,那个有关“幸福感”的实验向我们展出了这其中确实的危险性是什么。For example, many commentators have attacked Facebook’s experiment for making some users feel sadder; yet the company’s happiness fetish is just as troubling. Facebook’s “obligation to be happy” is the converse of the “right to be forgotten” that Google was accused of trampling over. Both rely on filters. But, while Google has begun to hide negative results because it has been told to do so by European authorities, Facebook hides negative results because it is good for business. Yet since unhappy people make the best dissidents in most dystopian novels, should we not also be concerned with all those happy, all too happy, users?比如,许多评论人士抨击Facebook的实验激化了部分用户的哀伤情绪。



不过,虽然谷歌开始隐蔽负面搜寻结果,是出于欧盟当局的压力,Facebook隐蔽负面帖子,毕竟因为这对它的业务有益处。不过,既然在多数反乌托邦小说中,最差的异议人士者都是那些不幸福的人,怎么会我们不应警惕那些整天乐呵呵的,甚至过于过幸福的用户?The happiness experiment confirms that Facebook does not hesitate to tinker with its algorithms if it suits its business or social agenda. Consider how on May 1 2012 it altered its settings to allow users to express their organ donor status, complete with a link to their state’s donor registry. A later study found this led to more than 13,000 registrations on the first day of the initiative alone. Whatever the public benefits, discoveries of this kind could clearly be useful both for companies and politicians. Alas, few nudging initiatives are as ethically unambiguous as organ donation.那个幸福感实验证明,Facebook不会毫不犹豫地改动算法,只要此举合乎它的商业或社会利益。回忆起一下,2012年5月1日,Facebook曾变更其原作,容许用户传达对器官捐献问题的立场,同时还附上了用户所在国器官捐赠注册网站的链接。


但是,很少有其他倡议像器官捐献一样在道德上没争议。The reason to fear Facebook and its ilk is not that they violate our privacy. It is that they define the parameters of the grey and mostly invisible technological infrastructure that shapes our identity. They do not yet have the power to make us happy or sad but they will readily make us happier or sadder if it helps their earnings.我们担忧Facebook及其同类,原因不在于它们不会侵害我们的隐私,而在于它们是规则制定者——它们可以定义灰色地带的边界,也掌控着那些要求我们以怎样的面目示人的最不为人知的计算方法。他们虽然还没力量让我们深感幸福或者哀伤,却很乐意强化我们的幸福感觉,或哀伤感觉,如果这样做能让他们更加赚的话。The privacy debate, incapacitated by misplaced pragmatism, defines privacy as individual control over information flows. This treats users as if they exist in a world free of data-hungry insurance companies, banks, advertisers or government nudgers. Can we continue feigning such innocence?错位的实用主义对环绕隐私权的争辩产生了危害影响,人们在争辩中将隐私权定义为个人对于信息流的控制权。

在这样的语境下,用户好像不存在于这样一个世界:在这个世界里,那些渴求获得个人数据的保险公司、银行、广告商或政府引领人员好像都不不存在。回应,我们还能之后掩耳盗铃么?A robust privacy debate should ask who needs our data and why, while proposing institutional arrangements for resisting the path offered by Silicon Valley. Instead of bickering over interpretations of Facebook’s privacy policy as if it were the US constitution, why not ask how our sense of who we are is shaped by algorithms, databases and apps, which extend political, commercial and state efforts to make us – as the dystopian Radiohead song has it – “fitter, happier, more productive”?如果要环绕隐私权进行更加有益的辩论,就必须问一问:是谁必须我们的数据?为什么?与此同时,应当明确提出制度化的方案,而不是一味拒绝接受硅谷企业得出的方案。与其把Facebook的隐私政策尊崇得像美国宪法一样,环绕如何说明它争吵不休,我们为什么不问一句:那些算法、数据库和应用于是如何影响我们的自我理解的?事实上,这些程序正在做到的,是让我们像那首Radiohead乐队的反乌托邦歌曲中演唱的那样——“更加身体健康、更加幸福、更加高效”,而这只不过正是政界、商界及政府期望看见的。This question stands outside the privacy debate, which, in the hands of legal academics, is disconnected from broader political and economic issues. The intellectual ping pong over privacy between corporate counsels and legal academics moonlighting as radicals always avoids the most basic question: why build the “private spaces” celebrated by Mr Zuckerberg if our freedom to behave there as we wish – and not as companies or states nudge us to – is so limited?如今,这个确实的问题却游离于隐私权维护的争辩之外。




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