It’s almost everyday I see another article come up about someone complaining about their privacy when using a web-based service. It was Facebook for the longest time (and still today), then Twitter, then a lot of Instagram, and now any service where people find out their data is being used.
If you’re going to use a service, expect them to have your data and use it, and no, they aren’t stealing your data or using it to hurt you – almost all of the data is used to benefit you, the user/consumer. Facebook doesn’t sell your data, it simply allows advertisers to create targeted campaigns, and advertisers do not have your data, they simply have pools of data. Therefore, nothing bad can come out of it. For example, an advertiser can target 35 year old females who like cars in Canada, but they don’t know anything about them other than there are 20,000 of them on Facebook. Would you rather see an advertisement about nothing related to you, or one that is targeted to your interests? The obvious answer is a targeted one, and it is a better experience for you, the user/consumer, and a better experience for the advertiser. The revenue these companies make also allows these services to improve so they can better serve YOU – they want to make the service better for you so there is more user engagement, hence more growth. There is also competition, so services are constantly improving. These are also free services – be privileged they exist, don’t bitch about them.
Ever download a new mobile keyboard for your phone? You have to agree to their terms and conditions before using, which means they can record all your keystrokes and use them to help improve their service – this includes text messages, phone numbers, credit card numbers, and virtually anything you type. If you don’t want to share that info, don’t use the service.
If you’re still incredibly worried about privacy, then don’t share what you don’t want seen – simple as that. When you go to Starbucks and buy a coffee, they now have data on you, and they use it to help improve their service. When you use Skype and talk to a friend, they use your data to improve their service, and help you. Get used to it, it is very common, and it is a good thing. The web is becoming more personal, and everywhere you go your data us being used in one way or another. Don’t be scared, accept it and know what to share and what not to share. We are living in a very exciting time.
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