Social web setbacks

4.3.2012

Recent hassle with the terms & conditions, privacy issues and general evilness of big Internet companies has now materialized into this post.

  • Pinterest states that the USERS have to pay any legal fees necessary in case of copyright infringement etc.
  • Google changed their terms & conditions in the beginning of March to better use all the data they’ve collected.
  • Twitter opened their whole tweet history to market research.
  • Facebook… well Facebook is just being Facebook, by for example failing to protect mister Z’s own private photos. You just can’t make this stuff up.

There are ways to battle for your privacy and digital rights of course, but the simplest thing to do is to share less. This is the great controversy. All the social media evangelists are hailing the coming of the all-sharing-era, but the relevant business players are soiling themselves regularly. To worsen the situation these companies are also trying to develop really cool stuff, like social buying and digital wallets. But ask yourself, would you give Google or Facebook access to your credit card data? Well for all we know they already have it, but let’s pretend they don’t. I wouldn’t.

Despite the somewhat questionable business move they just made, at the moment the one social media I kind of trust is Twitter. Facebook and Google simply know too much, and they have made weird choices regarding user privacy. Twitter has huge amounts of data too, but the sharing logic is different. Protecting 140 characters of witty remarks is not my main digital privacy concern.

So my point is that we need to keep in mind that these are companies in the business of making money. We are the products they sell (4$/user on Facebook, ad revenue divided by user count). From a user perspective this sucks. In a perfect world we would be customers and not products. In a perfect world we would have companies with integrity and slogans like “Don’t be evil” or something. Oh what’s that Google? Yes, I’ll bend right over.

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