Why people continue to use their data to pay for online services
After the revelation concerning how Facebook treats user’s data, I thought the world would witness a massive outrage. But the events that took place really surprised a lot of people. There were campaigns of “Delete Facebook” and some people really did. The issue was that it was so insignificant. Most people didn’t even care that their data was being misused.
I definitely do not support the misuse of data by these companies and I am for privacy (to a reasonable extent). I just want to do my best in this post to explain why most people don’t care about privacy and debunk the faulty privacy narratives that doesn’t work. This is considering the way the people I have observed think.
The first blow to the privacy narrative is the idea that if these big organizations do not have your data, they can’t give you what you are searching for easily. Today’s consumer is lazy. Nobody wants to spend a significant period of time searching for things they want. People who do have either been enlightened about getting what they want or they’ve had bad experiences concerning it. So, Facebook or Google has your data, they can suggest things for you that you would like. It means they can give you tailored experiences on their platform. People don’t want this to go away, at least the lazy ones don’t.
The second point is that data is useless to the individual. For data to make sense, it has to be from a number of people. So, data to each individual is kind of useless. So if they can use this “useless thing” to get a service they want, it is a good bargain on their path. So paying for services using their personal data sounds like getting a paid service for free.
The third point is that a lot of people want to share their life out in the open. They have seen people monetize their life publicly. Many would love to also. Even though exposing information about themselves may not take them there, it is definitely the way to go in that direction. Not so many people are really private with their private lives. Some will willingly tell you the history of their life without you asking. Such people will never take data privacy seriously.
The fourth point is that nobody wants to pay money to use Facebook or any online social platform. It must be free. Money makes the social motive more toxic. The emotions surrounding money are too strong for it to be used directly in online social connects. This is why an alternative to the “data-usage” model is very difficult. If suddenly Facebook announces that using the platform comes with a charge, I know a number of people who would quit Facebook that very day. People want such services free of charge. On the other hand, the platform sees value in this “data” that seems useless to the individuals.
The fifth point is that many people don’t feel violated when personalized ads are pushed at them. For many, it takes a long time for an ad to irritate them. This is because most ads are often about things they are concerned about (because the platform has their data). It seems easier to just let the ad slide.
I value privacy. I have abandoned my Facebook account for years now. If I ever log back on, it will likely be to delete the account. I use Twitter and got on LinkedIn recently. The point is that everybody is not like me. I am very particular about what goes into my mind. Many are not that careful. The lack of significant outrage against Facebook regarding the data scandals just shows that people really don’t care about what happens to them as long as they cannot measure it in a financial (or any visible) form.
I am definitely not saying Facebook should be a paid service, rather, I’m asking how they got all that detail about each person. I can count how many times I have clicked on online ads throughout my entire browsing history. I would rather go to a search engine and find out about an ad I saw rather than click the ad and blindly follow it. Not recommending you do the same, but just saying you have to be smart for your own life. There are those who would like to own you through what you like.
The privacy narrative is weak in the world today. Many people feel they don’t have enough in life and they would always prefer services free. But the reality is that nothing free is actually free. Some cryptocurrencies are established on this principle of privacy but it has not been a huge selling point for them because many people claim they have nothing to hide. Yes, transparency is very important but much more important is “anti-vulnerability”.
Privacy is not about hiding things about you, rather it is about protecting the things you care about
Don’t allow yourself to be hacked or attacked before you can see the importance of privacy. I hope you have learned something.