April 11, 2018

Wondering on Wednesday (v129)

I have a day job and so was not able to watch either of the two days of testimony from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg to House and Senate committees. I did hear that his personal information was compromised, as was that of 86,999,999 other people, and that he got into a spat with Lyin' Ted Cruz about Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day and bias against conservatives or something.

I did wonder about a couple of questions he got from Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). First, Durbin asked if Zuckerberg would be comfortable sharing what hotel he stayed in, and then he asked if Zuckerberg would share the names of anyone he had messaged that week. In both cases the answer was 'no' with varying degrees of discomfort, Zuckerberg sensing as he must have been the presumed trap he was walking into. AHA! people thought: the exchange proved everyone's point that Facebook overshares!

I didn't see it that way; Zuckerberg did not intend to share where he stayed the previous night, nor did he have any intention of sharing who he messaged - so, in effect, he set his privacy settings to 'friends only.' Just like you can do on Facebook, and should do, if you're paying attention. Congressmen are forgetting that so much information that can be gathered from Facebook is put there - on purpose - which is nothing like asking a random stranger where he spent the night.

There were also questions about political ads and disclosing who is behind them, to show transparency and protect us from bad guys. I wondered if Zuckerberg wanted to say he'd go for the same level of disclosure that Congress allows on ads that support them, but I think even if he had an inkling to, he was surely well counseled to not go there.

Another thing I thought was interesting was the level of concern these politicians have for privacy, something over which people can actually exert some control, compared to pols' apparent lack of concern over, say, clean air or clean water?  Everyone has issues with the costs of environmental regulations, and ensuring multi-billion dollar profits quarter after quarter after quarter for companies in that space. Everyone has issues with the costs of regulation on financial firms, and particularly now, no one's complaining about quarter after quarter billion dollar profits - so, why are they so concerned about Facebook and the company's profits, I wonder?

Moving on, House Speaker Paul Ryan has announced his retirement from politics - not just from the House, but from ever seeing himself run for office in the future. I wonder, will anyone hold him to that? His wife, maybe?

Ryan says he's leaving because his kids are going to only know him from the weekends, and he doesn't want that. Others say he's leaving because, well, he got his tax deal and now's as good a time as any. Or that he sees the handwriting on the wall and the House is going to fall, in the fall, so screw it all and go back to Janesville. Or that he's sick of dealing with Trump and he's not loyal enough to the orange-haired one, and loyalty is all that matters.

I could do a whole post on Ryan, and I might do that, but right now, I'm wondering about a tweet the president sent. Take a look:

Is it too much to wonder, to wish for, that Trump's "We are with you Paul!" comment means that Trump won't run in 2010?  

Nah. That's just silly stuff, not wonderful stuff. 

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