With the growing concern over privacy coinciding with the meteoric rise of the internet and social media websites, there is certainly a clamor for more responsible social media policy as it pertains to storing data and monitoring what people do online. At the core of these concerns are companies like Google and Facebook who have had to go through what appears to be an Africa safari in terms of how these companies have been hounded about their company policies on privacy and data handling. Between the media, the users, and the critics airing out their concerns, internet usage has been nothing less than a lighting rod of debate about policy in the last few weeks.
Of course, the issue is certainly far more complicated than what many people would like to accept. On the one hand, social media is a thriving business because it is an excellent source of revenue for many companies like Google and Facebook. Each time you sign-up to a service, it’s like a cash advance for social media companies as they are primarily fueled by usage volume which in turn lead to advertising money.
Now, the improvement in the way these companies have handled user data is at the core of the issue. The trend has fully shifted to what is now called targeted advertising as opposed to the generic advertising trends of yesteryear. Today, when you log on to Facebook, for example, you will find ads on the side bars that “seem” to match your own personal interests. Naturally, you click more and read more because these are topics that you feel are close to your heart.
Don’t you every wonder how these ads end up matching your taste and preferences? The answer is rather simple; Facebook, Google, and every other social media company tracks your internet usage habits and uses this as basis for creating an advertising scheme specifically tailored to your interests. Instead of bombarding you with random ads, it heads to the fender custom shop and actually customizes the fender that matches your needs and wants. The result is a more effective advertising strategy that trumps all random advertising techniques on the web.
The argument from the users touches on how these data should not be made public; rather, because social media companies are trusted with the information, they should take it upon themselves to safeguard this data. However, doing that can severely cripple advertising revenue, not to mention limit the idea of connectivity in social media which is often driven by connecting people of same interests, histories, and passions. It works much like an SEO engine in that it relies on data to drive itself. So is the data public or private?
Social media policy updates are geared towards addressing these concerns although it has proved ineffective in finding a common ground over the last few years. You can learn more about the issue by reading blogs and articles on the web which focuses on the idea that social media should not encroach on personal privacy. Accordingly, you can take your own stand on the issue depending on how you view it.
The important concern to remember is that if you are a social media user, be it Facebook, Twitter or Google+, you are most likely affected with this flux, whether you like it or not. So take part, speak out and voice your concerns; remember, it is your personal privacy that is at the crosshairs of the matter. What you say may help influence social media policy on data handling, or at the very least help you gain a far deeper understanding of the implications of social media use than if you chose to keep quiet. The fight is about you and your data; you should be wise to state your piece.