Facebook's state of surveillance

Posted by David Gomez

Recently, two major newspapers I read in Michigan decided to switch to Facebook for reader comments on their websites. It got me thinking: does everything really need to be linked to Facebook?

Yes, I understand why The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press decided to integrate their reader comments with Facebook. Obviously Facebook is still the big thing right now, most everyone has an account and businesses are interested in reaching as many consumers as possible.
    
But I happen to be one of those non-apathetic people who actually harbors major concerns about privacy. As such, I think the above-mentioned scenario could set up a situation where Facebook is able to gather even more detailed information about people.
    
Think about this for a second.
    
Now, I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m pretty sure most people realize that Facebook is a mega database populated by the people who use it.

Some users may not think so, but recently software activist Richard Stallman sat down with Russia Today and explained why Facebook is a massive surveillance operation.
    
His thoughts on this are important because he’s been an advocate for freedom in computing for decades, long before Facebook existed. Heck, you could even say his concerns are even more legitimate now because the free software movement has always feared Big Brother and its attempts to track us.
    
Quite a number of these news organizations are integrating or thinking about integrating their user comments with Facebook, and, like I noted above, I really do think it’s a bad idea. Well, if we are truly a society who cares about freedom, that is.
    
The founders of America wanted a free press because they hoped it would keep the government honest. The press isn’t an official part of the government, but it was always assumed it would operate side by side  to provide the people with the truth about their leaders.
    
And now newspapers are willingly putting all of their readers’ thoughts about important news events on Facebook for Big Brother to see. To be fair, I don’t think these newspapers want their readers to be spied on, but that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
    
After 9/11 the government set up a national security state and under the guise of keeping us safe, they’ve been doing things that would have been considered treason 20 years ago. You’ve heard that all before, but it has to be mentioned to make my point.
    
The intelligence agencies in this country want as much information about the public as they can possibly get. They don’t want to settle for knowing where we live and what websites we visit, they also would like to know what we are thinking.
    
And since they cannot read minds yet, the best way to see how people feel about important events is to read user comments on news stories. Integrating news website comments with Facebook makes this much easier than before because it puts people’s thoughts in one convenient place.
    
Big Brother’s job is a little bit easier now.
    
I understand why everyone wants to have a presence on social media, but people need to understand the problems this presents. Do we really want the national security thugs to be able to track everyone who disapproves of the government's actions?
    
Some things are so important that they should stand on their own. I hope at least some publications recognize this and decide to maintain an indigenous comments section on their websites.