A few weeks ago news outlets and blogs were up-in-arms over an experiment Facebook performed without telling everyone they were doing it. The Telegraph reported, “Facebook altered the tone of the users’ news feed to highlight either positive or negative posts from their friends, which were seen on their news feed. They then monitored the users’ response, to see whether their friends’ attitude had an impact on their own.” If you are a Facebook user you agreed, when you signed up to use this free service, to terms that give permission to Facebook to do things like this.
I’m always amazed at how many people scream and seem so surprised, offended and violated by something like this. The bottom line is that unless your name is Mark Zuckerberg then you have very little privacy when using his free service. And I do think the key word is free. I don’t own Facebook, I don’t even rent Facebook – they let me use their service, software, platform, servers and technology at no charge.
If you don’t like Facebook (or Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google+) knowing your business then don’t use the service. If you don’t want friends, family, co-workers and the rest of the world knowing your business either learn to use the privacy settings social media services provide or don’t use social media.
I have been involved with providing interviews to the media over the years. There is one thing that I learned early on and that is that NOTHING IS EVER off-the-record. You can apply that same philosophy to your online activity – very rarely is your online activity every totally private.
Unless you are paying for a service or have established a business relationship with an online organization you really can’t get too upset with how they handle your information.
If you don’t want social media services to experiment on you and your information here’s what you can do.
- Don’t use social media
- Become Amish
So what do you think?
And in the immortal words of Daryl Hall and John Oates, “Private Eyes – they’re watching you…”