Will social media disappear?
This question is not incidental, as it is being asked on the eve of Mark Zuckerberg’s being summoned to appear before the US Senate Committee with regard to abuse and a lack of protection of our personal data by the biggest social network site. The job of the Committee will be to examine whether mistakes and negligence of the giant result from naivety and a lack of experience or are an element of a thought-out strategy which, among others, helped ensure that the current American
President won the election. Personally I do not believe in “Zuckie’s” fault and I am inclined to support the thesis that the size of the company, its global reach and historic success got beyond not only Zuckerberg, but also his well-paid advisors. Nevertheless, the amount of data stored and used by the leader of the social media market is shocking. We might have expected that the private social media site had access to messages on our account and the more mindful of us have read the terms and conditions. But we certainly did not expect the fact that the app downloads our text messages, photos from our phone, our location and contact list. Access to the camera and mic on our phone remains a mystery, but let us not kid ourselves anymore – that is another resource we have provided to the geniuses from Silicon Valley. Zero privacy?
Our opinions are divided: some of us want “Zuckie’s” head and obligatory regulations for the social media giant. Others say that nothing bad has really happened: this could have been expected, this is civilizational progress, and if we want to live comfortably, we need to provide more and more personal data. I will just add that each month 1 billion photos and x-times more text messages are uploaded into the network – it is very difficult to find an accidental entry. Data segregation and use seemed impossible.
So a genius came along. He wrote a code which finds, downloads and segregates millions of data for its creator’s purposes. According to studies, individually we can protect ourselves very well against other people’s will and suggestions imposed on us online, sadly it becomes much more difficult if all of our virtual friends share the same opinion – we simply join the crowd and start speaking the same voice. What seemed impossible has now become the means of controlling the behaviour of many people, of influencing them and successfully achieving established aims with the use of individually addressed slogans.
• So what happened to freedom? •
We need to decide what kind of future we want – one where unknown data administrators have access to our private, confidential information, but in return we receive an online product tailor-made to our needs? In other words, will we allow privacy to be limited to gain more comfort?
However, if mandatory regulations are imposed on the social media giant, I can only quote Cicero: “We should be slaves of the laws in order to be free”. I will leave the choice up to you.