Ah, Facebook. Welcome back, old friend. We’ve seen quite a bit of you these days—well, in our Culture Clips blog, at least. Every time I visit you myself, you ask me to tell you my social security number and demand that I vote for Vladimir Putin for our local school board.
Well, maybe that’s stretching the truth a bit. But no question we’ve seen Facebook in the news lately for all the wrong reasons, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is speaking on Capitol Hill to address some of those concerns even as I write this.
Congressfolks have been asking a lot of pointed questions about Facebook’s privacy, which makes sense, since Facebook admits that up to 87 million users had their data leaked. Worse yet, word is that most Facebook had their data scraped by, in Facebook’s own words, “malicious actors.” And when we’re talking about “most,” that encompasses more than two billion people.
‘Course, that number is shrinking a bit. Steve Wozniak, one of the founders of Apple, says he quit the social media network because he’s just “tired of all the ads.” (Facebook is trying to tighten its requirements for at least political ads, incidentally.) And Elon Musk, who cancelled his Facebook account last week, says that social media and artificial intelligence should be regulated by the government.
Zuckerberg continues to hedge on what, exactly, Facebook will do to allay all these privacy concerns, but he does acknowledge something should be done. “I think we need to take a broader view of our responsibility. We’re not just building tools, but we need to take full responsibility for the outcome and how people use those tools as well,” Zuckerberg said.
But Facebook is hardly the only entity collecting data like my dryer collects lint. A host of consumer groups are accusing YouTube of violating the privacy of its youngest users. The digital assistant Alexa and its corporate overlord Amazon know a whole lot about you, too, and USA Today is telling its readers how to delete that data. Even standard brick-and-mortar chains aren’t immune to data-breech issues. Best Buy’s the latest to tell its patrons that ne’er-do-wells hacked into their system and, as a result, may have their financial information.
Not that most of us are necessarily paying attention to those pesky data breeches. Not given the fact that North Americans are the world’s biggest TV addicts.
What are we watching on the telly? Besides Roseanne, I mean? Well, Game of Thrones, naturally, though it won’t be coming back ’til 2019 some say the show’s originator, author George R. R. Martin, has turned from Jon Snow to Cersei Lannister because of his slow-writing ways. We like us some Netflix Stranger Things, too—a show so popular it’s getting its own attraction at Universal Studios. And The Simpsons, after all these years, still has its fans, even though a recent episode centered on the already-problematic portrayal of Apu has stirred a bit of controversy.
Not many of us are watching the American Idol reboot. But Katy Perry, just weeks after smooching a semi-unwilling contestant, is making news of a different sort. Perry, who started her career as a Christian singer, burst into tears when a contestant—a worship leader and an outspoken Christian—covered one of her songs. “You are a secret spiritual ninja,” Perry told her. And on Easter, Perry posted a picture of a wrist tattoo saying “Jesus” and wrote, “my brokenness + God’s Divinity = my wholeness.” Hmmm.
We’ve been chronicling for weeks how Black Panther is breaking all sorts of records. Well, it apparently is breaking another barrier now, too. It’s going to open in Saudi Arabia next week—the first time a movie’s been officially shown in the uber-conservative Muslim country since theaters were closed down in the 1980s.
Finally, let’s close with the story of a man who was literally raised by wolves. He was discovered hanging out with his canine companions when he was 19—able to communicate only through grunts—and was whisked back to civilization. Now 72, he now speaks, wears clothes and uses silverware when he eats. He has been introduced to the marvels of media, technology and entertainment.
But frankly, we can have our Game of Thrones and Facebooks. He’d rather be with the wolves.