Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
More and more, I find myself wondering why we built a world in which so much civic discourse takes place inside a handful of giant digital shopping malls.
So let’s talk about Facebook’s decision to disable the pages and personal accounts associated with the Ad Observatory project at New York University, which took data that had been volunteered by willing Facebook users and analyzed it in an effort to better understand the 2020 election and other subjects in the public interest.
In one corner, you have academic researchers working to understand the platform’s effects on our democracy. In the other, you have a company battered by nearly two decades of privacy scandals and regulatory fines, forever terrified that a Cambridge Analytica…