People sometimes do this by mistake when posting an article but since web search doesn't come up with anything for this title other than this HN page, I'm interpreting this submission as abuse rather than a trivial error. Sorry if I've sounded harsh, but this is one trend we really don't need to get going.
A lot of these tech companies had revolving doors with the ruling administration of the country for 8 years. They have been deeply embroiled in politics for decades. Ironically, Microsoft circa late 1990s serves as a great lesson when you don't have a revolving door with politicians. In my humble opinion, Shkreli is another example of people who didn't kiss the Godfather's hand.
If you got duped by "Don't be evil" or the other "make the world a better place" propaganda by these tech companies, some of the biggest companies this world has ever seen -- then that is on your ignorance. I don't blame Big Tech at all. They will (and should) use the same formula as the other Big Corps for their own self interests. That is what our system requires of them, for better or for worse. We as citizens and consumers should have been vigilant. And to be fair, many on HN have always been vigilant about Big Tech.
In my opinion, people have no right to criticize FB or Google today if they did not feel a chill run down their spines after Snowden's leaks or after AaronSw's death.
I’ve never understood the phrase “X has no right to Y.” In this context, it’s doubly absurd. Americans have a right. A Constitutional right. The very first one in the Bill of Rights.
Users quibbling at Facebook is negotiation (albeit ineffectively done). Voters complaining via political channels is activism, a First Amendment right.
If you read the full context, I said "in my opinion ...", and not "according to American constitutional law ...".
I am using the word "right" in the "moral" sense of the word, and not the "legal" sense of the word (and you can look up the definition of the word "right" if you prefer).
Now, perhaps, you can look at the entire context of that sentence and give address the actual point I was trying to make.
Calling legal, Constitutionally-protected political protest immoral because someone "did not feel a chill run down their spines after Snowden's leaks" isn't better.
Jumping up to your original comment :
> Why are people surprised by all this?
It's novel. Specific beats abstract, actual beats hypothetical, relatable beats austere. In Cambridge Analytica we have a specific example of Facebook dropping the ball and creating actual consequences relatable to the average American.
Americans love to forgive. We wanted to see Zuckerberg acknowledge the issue, take responsibility and overcorrect. (Think: Tylenol .) Instead Zuckerberg disappeared for a few days, apologized like he was making a scripted sales pitch  and proceeded to do nothing tangibly evident to the average American. Seeing Facebook lie and cheat so brazenly, in respect of a specific, actual and relatable crisis, was novel for many people.
We're also seeing a narrative shift. Facebook once lived in the shadow of Steve Jobs, within Silicon Valley's greater story arc and the myth of the founder. (Think: HBO's Silicon Valley .) They were allowed to cut corners as the product of a goofy if influential wunderkid. That's shifting. Shifts surprise. There is no need to throw people under the bus for agreeing later rather than sooner--at the end of the day, agreement is what matters.
I think you're conflating FaceBook (including Comcast & Verizon - surprise!) with the rest of "Big Tech". I'd like to hear how Apple, Amazon or Microsoft are part this coalition, or as "evil as Big Oil", etc.
Facebook has some poor timing in this news, but lets face it, there're privacy proponents and opponents. Facebook is almost never for privacy.
Notice: Comcast and Verizon are almost always on the wrong side of the issue, including this one.
But I’ll tell you why I trust Comcast and Verizon more than Facebook and Gooogle... the former two are completely honest about what they are, the latter two are not.
Typed on an iPhone because Apple is right upfront about what it is the do and how they make money.
But if I learned that Apple gave my data to the company that produce a spyware that some remote friend installed on his computer from a dubious link, of course I would be mad at Apple because something in their security model would be seriously fucked up.
Comcast/Verizon get to collect your data and their rent on your cable/mobile bill.
With different motivations, people are enamored with someone else doing the citizening, or even technology doing it.
How many Star Trek episodes involve computer run societies?
I must say, I find the story most intriguing. The build-up, how human society was gently subjected to its rule. And then there's the recognition of that machine that there is a "problem", and the completely crazy conclusion that it's an alien influence. Absolutely stunning.
Though honestly, in direct comparison with Big Tech's failure at winning humanity's trust, Colligatarch has my vote any day.
Please stop perpetuating the myth that businesses have to be evil and that they aren't wrong for doing so. There aren't laws of the universe that say businesses need to do whatever it takes to maximize profit.
Real people work at these places and as long as these people feel like what they are doing is ok, this will continue to happen. And saying "hey, if you're a Facebook employee you're doing exactly what you should be and I don't blame you" is just going to make this worse.
People work there and it's people that need to take responsibility for their own actions.
EDIT: Quickly checked Google. An Investopedia article argues that it's not bribery because it benefits everyone in the country. But we can see that it's always so that the companies make more money right? Only the rich keep getting more money. Also, the article seems to have been written by a lobbying enthusiast!
The EFF  and ACLU  are lobbyists. We have a problem in the U.S. with money and politics, but lobbying per se is a natural consequence of the First Amendmenr.
I'm pretty sure if you asked them EFF and ACLU would support restrictions on lobbying - they can't compete against billions of dollars funded by well funded corporations.
How would getting rid of lobbying change that equation? If lobbying was gone, what mechanism would be used to discuss issues with legislators?
As it is, requests for public comment - the feedback to them goes straight into the paper shredder, but if you throw a bit of money towards the re-election fund, you can write the legislature.
It's corruption, pure and simple.
Consider a U.S. Senator representing Arkansas considering a bill regulating nuclear energy. The Senator is no expert in nukes. How should he determine to whom to speak? If a renowned nuclear physicist in California wants to speak with the Senator, should that be banned?
Lobbying, i.e. people--individually or in assembly--expressing their political views to elected leaders, is an inherent side effect of the First Amendment. (And, I'd argue, of democracy.)
The process can be corrupted, but that is true regardless of the vehicle.
Two factors over which we don't have a national consensus.
One: the line between political and non-political speech is tough to draw. If I write a blog about the minimum wage, is that political? What if I do it full time? Now I hire a copy editor--is that political spending? What if the blog is openly--and intentionally--partisan?
Two: a metric to determine the degree to which money is a factor in a given piece of speech. Say I paint a political mural on my house's public-facing wall. Is the paint political spending? What if I hire someone to paint it for me, but based on my design? What if my neighbor lets me paint her house? What if my other neighbor, to whom I give the oranges from my orange tree every year, lets me do the same? What if I commission the art but paint it myself?
I don't really mind companies lobbying for things, I suspect that it has more good than bad from open lines of communication of needs from the business community. But the balance has to be right. It shouldn't be one company drowning out a million people.
The NRA is at least made up of real human members. Who shockingly donated $85M to them in since 2005. I may dislike their point of view, but they certainly deserve to be able to lobby.
Of course, the reasons to believe (2) and (3) were enacted as a means to a different end are bottomless. They were accomplished by undermining our cultural, emotional, existential perceptions of the world we live in and depleting our capacity to make intelligent decisions.
How was this accomplished? By advertising; the same things motivating Facebook’s entire business model. (and Google’s)
Our campaign financing norms are absurd, and have unruprisingly ruining our whole political complex.
And yes, I agree FB should keep their distance from opposing this initiative or lobbying against it. In fact, Equifax et al would probably be affected and I hope the initiative passes.
after the FOSTA/SESTA fiasco we need to carefuly figure out the implications of new laws and initiatives before deciding to support them.
And this is one that actually nails it.
since FOSTA/SESTA covers hate speech, sites for political debate either assume the risk an invest heavily in moderation, risk becoming censors of speech or close the doors altogether.
as a "left leaning" commentator so eloquently put it after hearing the lamentations of a "conservative" member of the /pol discussion forum when the new policies were announced in 8chan:
"See what happens? Now burn in the fire you set yourselves"
Nobody (but perhaps the EFF) saw it comibg
If you worked at Facebook past mid-2017 (because that's the only time I know you should have known about it -- really, you should probably have quit earlier) in an non-visa-restricted engineering role and don't have a damn good reason for it, I will never hire you. Same with Uber. And same now, for Google. Your technical merits are worth nothing to me if I don't know you have solid ethics.
Same company (CA) used other tools to manipulate elections. For example, they used Whatsapp to manipulate Kenya elections and this was reported last august by Al Jazeera: https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/listeningpost/2017/08/f...
Did Whatsapp help CA to manipulate elections in Kenya? Nope (If yes, that would be a much bigger scandal). According to the report from Al Jazeera, it could be Telegram or Signal, doesn't matter.
Most people just focus on Facebook but I think it's just the tip of the iceberg. We should actually think about how democratic elections can survive manipulations...