What exactly is a sleight of hand?
/ˌslīd əv ˈhand/
- skillful deception.
- “this is financial sleight of hand of the worst sort”
- Synonyms: deception, deceit, dissimulation, double-dealing, chicanery, trickery, sharp practice, legerdemain
The Verge reported recently that Mark Zuckerberg is “potentially interested” in putting Facebook login on the blockchain. In an interview with Harvard professor Jonathan Zittrain, Zuckerberg says tying Facebook Connect, their user authentication system to the blockchain could provide increased security to users and app developers.
Using blockchain also has its challenges as it would remove Facebook’s ability to shut down third-party app developers. This is great for app developers that use Facebook Connect to authenticate users but leaves Facebook powerless to stop any app developer who may be breaking Facebook’s data privacy rules and stealing your data.
This sounds like a genuinely contrite Mark Zuckerberg showing a real interest in the security and protection of Facebook’s users. Could it be true? Maybe Zuck really is interested in making things better.
But keep your eye on his other hand. Like any good magician, Mark Zuckerberg is an expert at deception and when you dig a bit deeper into this story you see what is really going on. Putting Facebook Connect on the blockchain is a brilliant deception but it is still a deception. Let me walk you through the tricks Zuck is trying to pull while you are focussing on his magic wand.
The first alarm bell comes from the actual interview itself. This is not a piece of investigative journalism where Zuckerberg faces some hard questions and provides hard answers. This is an interview with a university professor from Harvard, Zuckerberg’s old alma mater, and it is posted on his personal Facebook page.
Tying authentication to the blockchain does not give more control to users it gives more control to Facebook. Users are still connecting with Facebook Connect and Facebook owns Connect. Now all those third party app developers will have to buy Facies or some kind of cryptocurrency token to access the same users they access now as part of their Facebook Connect license. Take another 10% off the top Mark!
Most importantly, it is only Facebook Connect not Facebook itself that they are thinking of putting on the blockchain. Mark Zuckerberg is not about to really give control of Facebook back to his users he is just giving you the illusion of control. Your personal data is still being collected, mined and sold with the same reckless abandon as always.
Except Zuck makes a few billion more bucks.
Time to really fix social media and give complete control of the whole network back to the users.
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