Social media sites are the mega-industries of this generation. They are high-tech with more storage and computational power than we could have dreamed of a mere twenty years ago. However, with enormous power comes enormous responsibility. In many cases, these social media powerhouses don’t police themselves and take on arrogant personalities.
Social Media Data Breaches
Just recently it came to light that Facebook was using user’s personal information for financial gain, specifically to influence political outcomes. CEO Mark Zuckerburg was called on the carpet before Congress where he apologized, but of course his check had been cashed and the damage was done.
But Facebook is not alone when it comes to handling user information. It has recently come to light that Google’s G+ app had left vulnerabilities wide open. The software glitch gave outside developers possible access to private profile data of thousands of Google+ users.
The fact that this happened is not particularly surprising. I used to be a software developer and it is just a fact that with thousands of lines of code, things slip through no matter how much testing is done. The problem with Google is that they chose to put the hush-hush on the data breach rather than being up front with users and the media.
Their solution? They plan to shut down G+. It’s a shame because myself, like many others, enjoy the platform. This, despite the fact that it sometimes takes some wading through a sea of anti-Semite activists, antifa thugs, and pornographers.
Irresponsible Employees Given a Pass
This is another example of shameful corporate positions. Just recently, Dave Hogue, a design lead at Google, has slammed Republicans in an angry Twitter rant over the nomination of now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
His Twitter rant? “You are finished, @GOP. You polished the final nail for your own coffins. F–K. YOU. ALL. TO. HELL. I hope the last images burned into your slimy, evil, treasonous retinas are millions of women laughing and clapping and celebrating as your souls descend into the flames.” Google’s response?
“What employees say in their personal capacity has no bearing on the way we build or operate our products,” a Google spokeswoman told Fox News, via email. In other words, even a design lead has no moral or personal responsibility to act as an adult and has leeway to post this garbage that is even viewable to children. Great corporate culture, Google. And did he post it on your company computer, on company time? Just hear crickets on that one.
Protection Against Information Harvesting
Most social media is free to users which is one reason that antitrust regulations have not been brought to bear against them. They profit by profiling users, selling their personal data, and serving up targeted ads. But there are ways users can protect their privacy.
Don’t be completely honest in your profiles. Change your birth date, location, employer, etc. Use the Tor browser to protect yourself from tracking. Use Privacy Badger to block spying ads and invisible trackers.
The point of all this is not to invest in paranoia. The point is that as free citizens we deserve and are entitled to privacy. We are people, not commodities. It is just as important as our home security.
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