Photo by Tax Credits via flickr
Moises Fuertes/Contributing Writer
We should all be paid for using social media.
Very few people are aware that social media companies are data-centric corporations that make a fortune out of selling user data to advertisers or any third party interested in buying it.
These companies are taking advantage of user-generated content for their own economic purposes, such as when I use Google to search for something or make a post on my Facebook account.
The same is being done to you.
Google basically stalks the actions of every single person who produces a search and uses this data to specifically target advertising based on the user’s search behavior.
Facebook does the exact same thing but I consider it even worse because they use all the information a person posts on his or her site and not just the information provided on each respective “About Me” section.
This means that every post a person has ever made on Facebook is sold to advertisers, despite your privacy settings. You might have your settings so only your friends see what you post, but Facebook is still able to save everything and inevitably sell the data.
It is no surprise then that I continuously receive ads pertaining to video games, as I’m a video game reviewer and constantly update my Facebook with information about the video game industry.
It is an illusion of privacy that should not only be done away with, but also shows that services like Facebook and Google are ultimately platforms that come with an undisclosed cost.
Not only do we pay for the services with our privacy, but our privacy is also at risk of being utilized by third parties that can potentially do more harm to the individual by purchasing the data alone as opposed to any stranger that can see the posts.
Regrettably, we have become completely dependent on these services in our daily lives.
Ultimately, if the Internet continues to exploit its users in this manner, we will all be forced to censor what we post online, which completely negates our freedom of speech. Self-censorship is not a solution, though, as it would destroy the global social sphere the Net has managed to create.
It is because of this that I propose that these data giants pay every user per post or search made. It is only fitting that they pay us back for the service that we are providing them: free reign to our information.