Social media firms have showed obvious displeasure about the revelations of surveillance by the National Security Agency but it also reveals the extent to which these companies are at least partially to blame. It has come to light in recent months that the likes of Facebook, Google and Twitter collect data from users and sell it to online marketers.
With peoples’ information being used by these companies for financial gain, one should not wonder why using most social networking sites are free to use.
These free attractive platforms entice people to share as much information about themselves as possible, this in turn pushes privacy out the window and allows nameless ‘data brokers’ who are not bound by a privacy agreement to use any information shared for marketing and advertising purposes.
In theory, we only have ourselves to blame as the issue has been highlighted so much lately, at the same time it does not shield these companies or shift responsibility to the user.
“The technology is interesting, and amazing, and new-fangled and crazy,” says Seth Shafer, research analyst at SNL Kagan. “That battle has been going on for a long time between not wanting to be marketed to in certain ways but still wanting the benefits of the relationship.”
Legal necessity requires social media companies to cooperate with the government, but their association with data brokers is entirely by choice and for profit. While almost every major technology company has taken President Barack Obama to task over the NSA’s incursion into our privacy, they’re saying little about the widening role of data brokers.