Free Is Not Cheap

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Steven Hodson over at WinExtra.com has published an interesting piece that dives into the subject of how people could care less about their privacy. In my opinion, Steve hits the nail on the head on so many points that I wish I could copy and paste his entire post but that wouldn’t be right. But I will post a quote from his article which I think is the most important point he makes.

The idea that we have any say in what is done with our data once it is in the hands of companies like Facebook is ridiculous. In fact the moment you click on that submit button on the last page of the signup form you have given away all those rights – read the damn terms of service and you will see that. That clicking of the button is your electronic signature – you have just signed a contract … you get a bunch of bullshit free services in exchange for the company being able to do whatever it wants with that data. It is now theirs and any subsequent updating of that data is also theirs.

Over the past few weeks, I have heard so many people complain about Facebook and what they are doing with the data you have given them. I’ve given it some thought and have come to the conclusion that social-networks are nothing more than marketing data harvesters. Asides from having a ton of eyeballs to market to advertisers, most of the user’s on these social-networks provide accurate user data. The reason I believe this to be true is that, you want at least most of your profile to be accurate so your friends know who you are on that network. This accurate data makes for good demographics that the social network owner doesn’t have to work so hard to retrieve.

In the end, you’re not an end user. Your a pawn within a giant game called online advertising. If you don’t like it, don’t use the damn service. Here is a better idea, buy a webhosting account, download WordPress, and create your own social network that you control, around your blog.

3 thoughts on “Free Is Not Cheap

  1. @Steven Hodson Hey Steve. Your article was right on the money and I felt all it needed was my point tacked on for good measure lol.

    Seriously. Do Facebook user’s actually have any ground to stand on to complain against the use of their data by Facebook? Do you think this Facebook privacy thing is limited to Facebook only, or is this a widespread web 2.0 thing?

  2. In theory any TOS or EULA is a bunch of legalize that boils down to the company is always right and the user is always screwed. The degree by which the user is screwed will vary only by the greed of the company and the potential they see down the road for all the rights you have blindly signed away.

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