The people who have always been able to do something about this — the ones building the software — have always known when their software was doing something wrong. It’s their job to find bugs, and if they’re worth their salt, they’re always looking for flaws in the overall design, as well as the functional components of what they’re building. They know that violating user privacy without consent is a bug. Operating in a way inconsistent with the user’s expectations is a bug. Coercing people into using your product with psychological tricks is a bug.
Though many of these poor designs are instigated by higher-ups, they are ultimately implemented by professionals with a deep knowledge of their field. Designers know when they’re mocking up screens that prey on people’s most basic desires; developers know when they’re implementing designs that would feel incredibly wrong as the end user.
This is from an old article by Matt Baer, and is talking about problematic business models in general on the internet.
It isn’t about Facebook or any specific scandal.
Still, it’s an interesting thought. It isn’t just Zuckerberg or Kalanick or [pick your leader of scandal generating tech company].
The people that write the code and design the interfaces know what they’re doing. Perhaps we should hold them as morally responsible as we do financiers?
(As always my emphasis)