In case you’ve not heard, Apple’s new iOS is pushing back against Facebook to protect your privacy. And if you consider these are two of the largest and most influential companies on the planet, we ought to pay attention.
Apple is proposing you be allowed to decide whether Facebook’s advertising data-collection service follows and captures your web activity in the background to show you more relevant advertising.
Instead of the default being, “Yes, follow me everywhere, know everything I do,” the authorization would be you making a choice.
Nothing in life is free — and neither is your social media account. Beneath the hood is a high-octane advertising machine designed to allow you to share information with your friends.
However, the danger is that the Trojan Horse element works against a user’s assumption of basic privacy. As users, we are trading our personal information to a masterful technology service in trade to upload photos of our dog.
I have basic social media accounts. But I also understand with each keystroke I make on my computer or phone, my actions are captured and recorded forever in a digital universe — a place I am unable to enter or approach.
Even acknowledging a friend’s seemingly innocent post is an affirmation that I need to be prepared to defend the rest of my digital life.
Facebook fears that if Apple asks people whether they want every digital move they make captured in perpetuity, a majority of people will say no. And for Facebook, the world’s largest and most profitable advertising company, this could begin a chilling effect on its business model.
Facebook knows people, if asked, value their privacy. And with less robust data to harvest, its ability to command higher margins and deliver more significant profits could fall under pressure.
It is easy to kick at social media. What began as a friends-reconnecting-with-friends exercise is now the largest and most sophisticated personal data-suck ever created. Every post, every like, every photo, every keystroke permanently becomes a part of your digital profile, locked away from you in a digital vault for profit-minded individuals to sell their wares.
Amazon is a remarkable technology company that happens to sell items. And as users, we know anything we search or drill down on while on its platform is recorded and used to sharpen future suggestions. But as consumers, we know we are in its store and understand that the trade of our information is part of the exchange. And one could argue, this makes our shopping experience more useful to Amazon and the user.
But to turn our digital breadcrumbs over to a company whose only goal is to use it against us to generate profits is like leaving town for two weeks and your front door standing wide open — you should not expect privacy afterward.
“Facebook is the door through which the devil enters your life,” said a friend several years ago.
The more I learn, the more I realize he is right.