Sometimes my decision not to join Facebook personally is vindicated. For example, when it’s revealed that tens of millions of Facebook users’ data was shared with an analytics company hired to influence voters. Exposés such as Cambridge Analytica kept me away from Facebook in the first place. In the highly interconnected technology-driven world we live in, privacy has become elusive.
What most intrigues me is that it’s all voluntary. Billions of Facebook users happily participate in a social network that openly claims ownership of any data posted on its site. Perhaps some aren’t aware of this, because who reads the fine print when they sign up?
When I moved to Switzerland I joined an expat forum, and one of the most plaguing questions was “how do I get out of a contract I signed, but didn’t understand?” At least expats had the excuse of not speaking the local language. Always, one of the responses was “never sign something you do not understand.”
It’s a vital lesson that millions of Facebook users are now learning.
Not having read Facebook’s T&C, I don’t know whether this sharing of data complied with or actually violated the company’s guidelines. But it’s a cautionary tale because, of course, Facebook isn’t the only company collecting masses of data on its users.
Before I get too smug, I must remind myself of those times where I felt I was missing out by not being on Facebook. Everything has its cost — signing on, or staying away..
Shana Goldberg may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2018 by the Intermountain Jewish News