Photo Credit: Seevibes
By Israel Njoku
Just a quick question guys, what do you think facebook sells? How do they get their money? You open an account free of charge, post your beautiful photos, write your world class posts and chat yourself to death at zero cost to yourself. So what exactly are they selling?
Yes, you figured out the answer, the one they want you to figure out, the ‘oh he’s figured it out!’ answer. It is of course ads. Well I know ads can fetch up pretty hefty amount of money, but if you think Mark Zuckerberg Is seventh on Forbes Richest list cause of plain bland ad, then you should brace yourself up for a shocker.
The answer that would probably make Zuckerberg really gasp and become shit scared his cloak of responsibility and ‘we are commited humanity’s progress’ this and that is getting blown away is that YOU are the product. You, motherfucker, is what facebook is really selling. You see all those information we don’t really need that you feel obliged to put on?
That’s what they are selling. Your location, marital status, political leanings, photos, your ‘to the street number’ location, where you shop, where and what you ate, where you Last shat, and pretty much everything you have ever put on Facebook.
Now you may think Facebook’s large staff of intelligent people are all existing to help you ‘poke’ the unresponsive chattee, listen to your naggings about Spam,explain why you cannot log in, and so on, the truth is that all of the above functions are pretty much automated, stuffs a technologically inclined Zuckerberg would have no problems using advanced programs or Robots for. But he wouldn’t, because most of the geeks in there are data analysers (a field most of us should be going into- not the redundant accounting, banking, and lying fields). They spend hours pouring over tantalizing data you so obligingly provide, make sense of these data, then use them to formulate frighteningly direct advertising that are sure to hook you up. Why? Because the Ad you are seeing at that moment in time is a powerful psychological weapon constructed from your psychographic and demographic data intended to achieve what we call subtle persuasion. This method is incredibly direct, the message is almost only for you, tailored to your specification, designed so you have only a small fighting chance to desist, or disentangle from skillful psychological roping. This method is very effective as it eliminates waste. It also saves time, and as such Facebook gets paid, not for helping you advertise, but for helping you directly advertise to people that are more likely to respond to your messages, and in a way to make them really respond to the messages. In effect, facebook sells your information to people who wants to use them for whatever purpose they want. That is where Cambridge analytica comes in.
A very brave whistle blower, one the whole world except Mark Zuckerberg and his cohorts would be proud of, decided to blow the lid on some really uncool stuffs his employers, Cambridge Analytica, had been doing. In doing so, he exposed to public glare an illegal data mining operation that involves the illegal manipulation of millions of facebook users for political and otherwise purposes. Apparently, the act itself wasn’t illegal, because the Obama administration had made use of the information of social media users to manipulate them into voting for him before and was applauded for it. It became illegal in this instance because (and probably cause Trump somehow got involved this time) some facebook users were asked to play a game that involved providing some of their personal information.
What they didn’t realise was that although they gave consent to the information, their own contacts whose personal information were also extracted didn’t give consent, thereby violating their privacy when the data was used to support Donald Trump’s Campaign. The incident turned angry, questioning looks at Facebook for allowing such a large scale violation to take place, especially as it was revealed that Facebook were aware of the issue- an issue that occurred years ago. Facebook was able to defend itself though, saying they had requested that Cambridge Analytica destroy the data, but their lack of follow up meant the data was still used, and that Facebook now had to face its biggest crisis since inception, leading to #delete facebook campaigns, and a plunge in value.
Which brings us to the initial question? What exactly are you putting on Facebook? This is a serious question because nowadays, for most persons, the answer is pretty much everything. Its like having E entertainment following your entire life on camera like a Kardashian, except E doesn’t have to pay you, and they don’t have to follow you with a camera cause your own thumbs could do a better job of it. We have absolutely no sense of privacy anymore, and we don’t realise the full extent of it. Let me give you some scenarios I hope may enlighten. Assuming your information got in the hands of serial killer? Or rather Facebook happened to sell targeted ads to him of kinky girls with a thing for animalistic snapchat filters? Or of slay mamas with obsession for selfies? You do realise that contained in the ‘package’ facebook would give to him are possibly your address, where you shop, eat, hotels you occasionally sleep, your present location thanks to Facebook’s incessant ‘turn on location?’, and every other information needed to make your killing lightwork for a sociopath?
For a more realistic scenario, assuming the president just decides to channel his inner Kim Jung Un and decides to employ the SSS to go all gestapo style on you guys? With all the ‘Buhari is a clueless, stupid, mad, illiterate fulani man that only knows how to rear cows?’
It is in these situations one would realise that the concept of ‘hate speech’ indeed has flexible definitions, or boundaries if you will. But its a scary prospect indeed. Remember the illuminati conspiracy theories and the whole new world order thing? No I still think its nonsense and your scary, conservative ,overly religious brain over reacting, but with the possibilities of data mining, it makes the kind of extensive tracking and psychology needed for an enterprise of that nature much less complicated.
The summary of the whole thing here Is that we should for fucks sake start reading the terms and condition statement of our products to the end!
It’s really too much to ask though, especially as some of these documents are couched in complicated Legal- speak, and can most of the time get to the Length of a research work. But we need to beat these guys at their own game. Forget the ‘please go through the terms and conditions’, they don’t want you to go through it. It Is inside stuffs like this that facebook ironically hides its authorisation to basically manipulate your consent to their data mining of your private information out of you, and sell it to whomever they please.
Thank you for your time.