This is getting complicated and journalists with heaps of work naturally look for a quick and easy summary. Here is the best beast I could find:
“The Daily Beast recently doxed a black forklift driver and reported Trump supporter for the alleged high crime of creating a parody video of Democrat speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi. But there’s more to the story — it appears Facebook may have helped the left-wing journalists identify him. The Daily Beast identified the video creator as Shawn Brooks, whom they described as a forklift driver and Trump supporter from the Bronx. A Twitter account claiming to be Brooks disputed key details of the story, claiming he is not a Trump supporter, did not create the parody video, and does not live in the Bronx. By doxing Brooks, The Daily Beast followed the example of CNN, which threatened to unmask an anonymous Trump supporter over a parody video, forcing to him apologize in exchange for not revealing his identity. The scandal caused “CNNBlackmail” to trend on Twitter. But there’s another aspect to the Daily Beast story which has major implications for the privacy of Facebook users — according to The Daily Beast reporter himself, Facebook gave him information on Brooks’ activity on the platform.
Via the Daily Beast:
It’s conceivable that someone else actually edited the clip. But a Facebook official, confirming a Daily Beast investigation, said the video was first posted on Politics WatchDog directly from Brooks’ personal Facebook account. [emphasis ours] If the Daily Beast’s description of Facebook’s actions is accurate, Facebook compromised the privacy of one of its users, handing over information on his activity to a journalist who was clearly engaged in a politically motivated hatchet-job. Facebook has been rocked by repeated privacy scandals over the past two years, including giving major corporations access to user data without permission. CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently unveiled a re-branding effort emphasizing the company’s commitment to protecting the privacy of its users. “I believe that the future is private,” Zuckerberg said at a recent Facebook conference. Even left-wing feminist Caroline Orr, who described the Pelosi parody as “disgusting” (it’s simply a video of Pelosi slowed down to make her words appear slurred), expressed shock at the idea of Facebook handing over private information about its users.
Surely even dopey free market libertarian fanatics must reflect that this private corporation is over-stepping the mark, and that it is time for the weak night watchman government to do something, anything. But, Trump will not act.