We’ve seen story after story of just how deep Facebook’s mining and selling of our data goes. It wasn’t just Cambridge Analytics – in fact, it was long before them, and even Barack Obama’s people have admitted they did the same thing.
However, Facebook is but one social medium out there. There are loads of others. Twitter, despite how toxic and vile it can be, has been my go-to place of engagement, and I thought that I could feel safer there (even as the Trolls and the Haters threaten the people and things I love).
It was not meant to be, however, as it turns out I am just a commodity on Twitter, too. Via MarketWatch:
Data licensing was a hot topic on Twitter’s Wednesday earnings call, despite being only about 13.5% of quarterly revenue, with one analyst asking management how investors should view the possibility of government regulations impacting this area of the company. Chief Executive Jack Dorsey defended the business, saying that Twitter only sells access to data that’s already public and just provides its customers with a way to make sense of masses of public data in real time.
“We do not provide any personal identifiable information that’s not already visible on the service,” Dorsey said. “So we feel really good around the data business, especially with all the conversations going on, and we will continue to hold ourselves publicly accountable to make sure that we fulfill that fundamental right of privacy.”
I guess this means we need to delete our Twitter accounts, too.
And we shouldn’t stop there, either. Delete Pinterest. Instagram. LinkedIn. Even YouTube. Let’s also be safe and nuke Reddit and Tumblr from high orbit. That will probably save mankind.
The alternative to this would be getting people to stop freaking out. Yeah, your information is everywhere, but if you’re worried about Facebook and Twitter yet own at least one credit card, then you really haven’t figured out the whole problem yet.
You’re a commodity. You are a customer in many ways, but the moment you give your information to someone, they turn around and sell bits of that information to the next buyer. After that, you get stuff in the mail, calls to your cell phone offering extended warranties, and weird little pop-up ads only you can see because of your Internet search history.
It’s not an inherently bad thing, provided you don’t overshare on social media or anywhere else. The problem comes when this is abused by certain people (whoever sold my information to the campaign to get Ben Carson to run for president about six years ago – I will find you).
If you don’t want your information out there, then limit how much of yourself you throw out for the public to read.
Now is not the time to panic. Now is the time to make smart choices about who you want to see your information.