Regrettably, the reports you heard about our company in recent days are true: We stole the personal data of fifty million Americans and used it to subliminally convince voters to support Donald Trump. We sincerely apologize to the American people for this profound breach of trust. We understand the deep anger and discomfort that many feel towards us, and we don’t want to minimize that. We screwed up big time.
However, once the initial shock fades, we hope that this moment of reckoning can be based on facts and rational judgments, not emotions. To that end, we’d like to take this moment to remind the public that our company’s use of Facebook to effectively brainwash a large swath of the population into voting for an unstable idiot is quite frankly only, like, the sixth or seventh most-horrible thing about Facebook.
Honestly, it might not even crack the top ten.
We stole your data. That much is true. But you do realize that we stole that data because Facebook retains an incredibly-detailed psychographic profile of each and every one of its users? It’s taking the most powerful algorithms ever invented and using them to mine you — yes, you — of your most intimate, personal secrets. Facebook knows more about you than you even you know about you. When you think about it, isn’t that just a little bit creepier than what we did? Again, not trying to excuse it. But seriously, we looked at fifty million people, and Facebook has data on 1.5 billion people.
Then there’s the whole fake-news thing, you already know about that. How Facebook polarizes the American electorate and the creepy way it’s trying to suck kids in at earlier and earlier ages. But did you also know that it’s singlehandedly causing millions of cases of depression? We’re not kidding, there have been a number of studies that have shown that Facebook use is causative of, not just correlated with, clinically-significant increases in depression symptoms. It screws you up in the day-to-day, and it even brings your long-term life satisfaction down significantly. We’re bad, sure, but at least we’re not an addictive, happiness-sucking force that absolutely no one seems totally able to quit, right?
And, Jesus, all this is burying the lede — isn’t literally everything posted to Facebook just the worst? Like, remember how in the late aughts, everyone complained about how their news feed was a bunch of baby pictures and FarmVille updates? Somehow, some way, Facebook has gone downhill from that. Do you remember the last time you saw a meaningful status update that helped you understand a close friend’s emotional state and well-being? Neither do we. But we bet you remember the last time you saw a distant acquaintance bragging about $25 soup, or a schizophrenic auto-playing video ad for laundry detergent, or your 73-year-old uncle sharing a racist meme featuring the Minions. That’s the thing: Facebook has created the world’s most popular product, and no one wants to admit that it is TERRIBLE. What’s a little data-skimming and election-swaying got on that?
In the end, what we’re saying is this: We know we were wrong and we sincerely apologize. But, really, between keeping people tethered to their smartphones with slot-machine logic, and the sheer creepiness of Facebook’s recommended ads, and the enormity of its monopoly, not to mention the way it’s helping to make the Bay Area essentially unlivable for anyone but billionaires, or the fact that none of this is going to change the amount of time you spend on Facebook, how bad is one little company harvesting all of your personal data to try and exploit your inherent biases for nefarious purposes, anyway?