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Facebook has not been having a good time, lately.
After it has been revealed that Facebook has been selling user data to Cambridge Analytica, ICE, and other groups, it became clear that this site has a lot more involvement in data collection than most would have guessed. Once news groups traced Facebook's involvement in the 2016 election results, it became even more clear that the company has been setting its goal to become a political being.
Over the years, Facebook has been mulling over using blockchain in its arsenal. A blockchain token from this company should send chills down your spine. Here's what a Facebook blockchain token could look like, and why you should be scared.
Facebook: where are they headed?
The most likely Facebook blockchain token they would want to develop is their own cryptocurrency. Hackernoon and CoinDesk have both noted that Mark Zuckerberg has been looking to decentralize their data for a while—both in terms of the company's structure and the company's offerings.
The truth is that Facebook is one of the most tight-lipped companies when it comes to data collection. The fact that they have a centralized model is something that's both impressive and a weak point for them. It makes it clear where Facebook is based, and that puts them at odds with governments.
Lately, Zuckerberg has been mulling over the idea of making the site decentralized and tinkering with blockchain to solve their problems. It sounds great, right? Well, maybe if you're Facebook.
This isn't a good thing for consumers.
FBCoin is the most likely candidate.
CoinDesk recently reported that Facebook was considering creating a cryptocurrency called FBCoin. This would most likely be what a Facebook blockchain token would be, simply because it's actually what Zuckerberg has been talking about lately.
It's generally accepted that FBCoin would be traded on Coinbase and other similar coin exchanges. Like other cryptocurrencies, it would act as an investment vehicle and as a form of payment similar to fiat currency. But, with it being a product Facebook, there's reason to be concerned...
The problem with a Facebook blockchain token is manifold, with the biggest issue being its role as a digital ledger. This would be a majorly "guilty by design" move on Facebook's part.
Blockchain, with a digital ledger, is designed to keep records in a decentralized place. These records are typically visible to everyone, decentralized, and "hack proof."
With a platform like Facebook, this would mean every transaction with FBCoin would be totally traceable. Do you see the problem with having anything involving Facebook on blockchain yet?
The Traceability Issue
Facebook has been caught tracing people's phone call history, messages, and more. They have done everything from dropping news posts from feeds to tracing connections to people who don't even have a Facebook account.
Facebook is all about tracing. Your information is what they want, and what they use to manipulate you.
Blockchain is a digital ledger that would allow better traceability without necessarily showing who is tracing what. Does a Facebook blockchain token sound scary yet? No? Let's look into what could make this terrible.
The Money Issue
Facebook already knows where its users spend money, or what kind of ads tend to get the highest conversion rates. They are masterful on that. Blockchain currency would literally give them even more insight into everything from your spending habits to the way that foreign markets are working.
This would allow data collection on an unprecedented level, and knowing Facebook, they'd put that data on lockdown and sell it to the highest bidder. This is terrifying because it could mean that people could use that intel against you or use it to manipulate you even further.
Knowing Zuckerberg, he'd probably employ smart contracts, encryption, and other methods to make sure that only Facebook would be privy to the data. This would commodify knowledge of transactions, even among those who don't own a Facebook account.
Facebook can basically read your mind; why give them any more power?
Facebook claims it'd be for other reasons.
Blockchain's "proof of work" concept would mean that you would have a lot of people who would help prove that whatever is going on in Facebook isn't just an army of bots. This is a great idea, and would be wonderful in terms of accountability.
However, it's not like Facebook to be interested in accountability. They're more about profit than they are about people and the quality of the traffic they generate. That's always been their model.
If you really think about it, a Facebook blockchain token's purpose would be to continue data collection. It would be just too good for a guy like Zuckerberg to ignore.
A cop-out to lawsuits?
One thing that has become clear in recent months with Facebook is that they are not really that scrupulous when it comes to who they do business with. This puts them in a bad place when it comes to the US and EU legal systems.
Having all their data centralized, including when it comes to transactions like the ones done via ads and apps, is a weak point when it comes to defending themselves in court. By decentralizing everything, they release a lot of the legal burden from themselves.
The funny thing about issuing out cryptocurrency is that it can have a lasting effect on the political scene. With companies becoming increasingly enmeshed with politics, it's easy to see how a data collecting tool along the lines of what FBCoin would be could turn into a bad thing for everyone involved.
Additionally, we wouldn't necessarily be able to know who would be pulling the strings with FBCoin. This makes it one of the most potentially dangerous scenarios out there.
Considering the role that Facebook played in the 2016 election, and the fact that Facebook has been discovered to push political agendas, it's safe to say that FBCoin would probably be one of the only blockchain currencies that could potentially be linked to the start of a war.
A Facebook blockchain token wouldn't be like others out there. Knowing the way the company's operated, it's a sign that it could get very ugly, very fast.
Verdict: Not Good
No matter how you look at the facts, Facebook has proven itself to be a sketchy business. Facebook is purposefully addictive, unethically harvests data from non-users, and is just generally a not-good company.
Though managers may want to be at "Facebook or bust" levels, people shouldn't look to this company as a leader. It's not a good company to try to emulate from an ethical standpoint.
Regardless of the company's successes, a Facebook blockchain token isn't something we'd want to get our hands on. It's just too sketchy.