When you search, they find you
Information. We live in the Information Age, or the Digital Age. It used to be that ‘knowledge is power.’ That’s changed to ‘Information is Power’. Almost every day we hear, see or read about some way in which information about us, someone else, an event, has been used or abused. Social media organisations like Facebook allow other organisations like Cambridge Analytica (CA) to exploit the fact that Facebook ‘likes’ were, at the time, public.
You might think that this is no big deal. However, psychology researchers Michal Kosinski, David Stillwell and Thore Graepel showed that far more complex traits could be deduced from patterns in profiles most people wouldn’t be aware of. They discovered that with just a few random “likes” and some sound psychological understanding, it’s possible to begin to put together some complex, and accurate, character assessments.
Facebook made millions whenever someone clicked on their quiz app, Cambridge Analytical made millions by analysing and selling the data they collected from not only the results of the app, but also from all the data they gathered about the friends of people who took the quiz. So even if you didn’t take the quiz, the information about you, your likes (and by default, dislikes) were also scooped up by Cambridge Anaytica. That, my friend, is why you won’t find me on Facebook.
That trawl may be over and Trump may be in the White House as a result, but have people learned the lesson?
Probably not. Your daily activity on the internet, not just facebook but your everyday online, and off-line activities are providing corporations with data which they use to shape the world around us. Our mobile phones track our movements, our Google searches gather info on our interests, activities and more, Our Amazon shopping – well you know what that does. These are just a few of the ways in which we are exposed to and exploited by the Corporate Dictatorship we live under.