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Facebook and JPMorgan Chase: Case Studies in Exploitive Monetization

Courtesy of Pam Martens

One of the Scenes from the Christmas Card of Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase

 Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Featured this Photo of Himself on a Previous Holiday Card 

Last week the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, gave a harsh critique on how Facebook is making its money. Cook told an MSNBC Town Hall: “The truth is we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer, if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that.”

Cook has good reason to believe that Facebook has “monetized” its customers. After a whistleblower from the data mining company, Cambridge Analytica, exposed that Facebook had allowed the private information on 50 million Facebook users to be exploited for micro-targeting on behalf of the Trump presidential campaign, the company has come under withering criticism.

Yesterday, in a press conference, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, conceded to reporters that the privacy breach by Cambridge Analytica could have affected as many as 87 million Facebook users. The company also announced that most of its billions of users may have had their profiles scraped, writing:

“Until today, people could enter another person’s phone number or email address into Facebook search to help find them. This has been especially useful for finding your friends in languages which take more effort to type out a full name, or where many people have the same name. In Bangladesh, for example, this feature makes up 7% of all searches. However, malicious actors have also abused these features to scrape public profile information by submitting phone numbers or email addresses they already have through search and account recovery. Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way. So we have now disabled this feature. We’re also making changes to account recovery to reduce the risk of scraping as well.”

Facebook is now under an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission as well as an investigation by the British Parliament. (Exploitation of Facebook user profiles by Cambridge Analytica was also used to meddle in the Brexit voter referendum, which took the U.K. out of the European Union.)

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