Being discreet online

I know some friends that have closed their Facebook accounts because they supposedly don’t want to leave any kind of information for Facebook to track, however I believe they are a bit too late. Facebook has already used their information to train their algorithms and keep on using its user’s information.

As detailed by this article written by Zeynep Tufekci, these algorithms can already make accurate predictions through the use of previously available data in order to gain more information about you. Even though your profile is gone, most of the information Facebook gathered about you is probably still stored in their servers and was used to make predictions and create a more accurate profile of you.

The amount of users Facebook has allows their platform to use these algorithms to create profiles of their users so that they can possibly be targeted by advertisers. The article even mentions the possibility of Facebook targetting young teenagers that may suffer depression or “need a confidence boost”. These can lead to serious ethical issues, I mean, all these data gathering seems pretty unethical in the first place, but now targetting your depressed users with special ads for them seems borderline illegal and abusive. A lot of people say “lmao just get off the internet”, however young people today, including myself, have become quite dependent on the internet, be it to stay connected to our friends, to do homework, etc. so it can actually be a bit difficult to “just get off the internet”. There are also people literally addicted to social media, the attention and dopamine they get from people reacting to their new pictures and submissions.

Tufekci suggests as a solution to create mobile devices that are more privacy oriented. However if the companies selling you these smartphones are the same ones that want to collect all of your information, I don’t see a reason for these companies to actually go ahead and do it if they aren’t forced to. There needs to be a government regulation of how much access companies have to our devices and our information.

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