Privacy is such a fine line when it comes to social networks. Because in theory we want the platform to be free, have all of the bells and whistles for friction-less sharing, and yet we still want to maintain what’s ours as ours, from photos to personal information. But is that realistic? Do we really have the right to complain about the backend operations of something that is essentially free?
When you think about it, all of these social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, StumbleUpon and others, all provide their platforms and services so you can connect with your friends across the world and they do it all for free. All they are asking for in return is to be able to data mine a little information about you because they all predominantly (with the exception of maybe Google) make their money off of advertising. In fact, isn’t that what paid search advertising does? They look at where you’ve just browsed and then start serving up relevant content to you based on your browsing preferences and the location of your IP address.
On the flip side, it’s not your fault that they have a crappy business model and this is the only way they can generate real revenue. In fact, you’re the one who made them popular to begin with so why shouldn’t you get a little piece of the action and charge them to use your data, such as in the class action case of Facebook using “likes” in sponsored stories without the permission of its users?
Unfortunately, most Americans have no idea of how much of their personal data is collected and stored by these social media sites, which includes everything from your profile photo to your browsing history. However, does this still give social networks the right to use your data even if they are providing the service for free?
Is it a quid pro quo? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.