While it’s slowing to a trickle, Facebook continues to be in the news for their data practices.
People are still shocked that Facebook could have shared their user data with others. Working in the tech field myself, it’s surprisingly easy to find other tech professionals who are shocked that their data may have been shared with third party groups.
A friend of mine, who worked with Apple, recently posted on his Facebook page that he was seriously considering shutting down his account, as so many others have already done (or at least claimed).
My question: why is everyone acting so surprised?
I’ve been telling my kid for years not to take any of these personality or IQ surveys she sees online, because all they’re doing is collecting data. And all of that data is tied to the kid’s phone and social media activity.
When you take the simple step of logging in to your favorite sites with your Facebook or Goggle username and password, you are giving that site permission to share it’s data with Facebook or Google (and, to some degree, vice versa).
I’m not sure how so many Americans fell into the lull of putting all of their personal data, opinions, information, thoughts, preferences, purchases, etc. online as fast as they can and never putting two and two together that the core reason so many of these companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, and so many others are worth so much money is because of the user data they own.
Every time you open an email (like this one), visit a website, make an online purchase, do nearly anything with your phone, use any Google apps, or sign up for anything, you’re giving your data to a company. (Thanks to beacon technology, just carrying your phone gives retailers who use it information about you when you’re simply standing nearby.) And those companies are doing everything they can to assemble as much data on you as possible. They collect it from many disparate sources and tie it all together to build a profile that tells them your preferences and predicts your behavior.
Companies that have a lot of user data are worth that much more and that’s why the price tag is so high when they inevitably sell to bigger companies.
I’m not sure how we got so passive about our personal information. Many feel that since they’re not doing anything wrong, they have nothing to hide. But I’m not sure they’re being creative enough in thinking about the negative ways their data could be used against them.
Me? I’m trying to stay as off the grid as possible. That’s why I write this email every day…