In an age rife with undercover data-gathering at the hands of Internet overlords God-gle, Database-book and more, it should come as no surprise that our online dealings are being very carefully scrutinized.
With motives allegedly grounded in the realm of advertising profits, such behavior is easy enough to eschew in favor of the sparkly goods these data giants offer us all. In light of recent bizarro events, not so much.
What if better (read: way more annoying) advertising isn’t and has never been their goal all along?
What if these data-mining mega-companies are looking for more than coy peeks at our digital panties?
Facebook’s most recent infringement on everyone’s privacy erupted onto the web in scandalous glory – eliciting a response from community-oriented social network “Minds.com.”
The story that broke over the past few days is really just a piece of a much larger issue with Facebook and how they handle personal data.
To summarize, a developer named Aleksandr Kogan developed an application in 2014 offering a personality quiz to Facebook users.
About 270,000 users took the quiz, but in doing so they granted Kogan’s app access to not only their Facebook data, but the data of ALL of their Facebook friends as well — meaning the app now had data on 50 million users.
Kogan then provided this data to Cambridge Analytica, who used it to create over 30 million psychographic profiles about potential voters.
Taken aback by this peek behind the curtain, I was still not surprised.
Facebook is notorious for screwing its users on the sly; with a history of doing so for roughly as long as it has been in existence.
It’s the double-whammy assault of such a scandal being followed by ANOTHER on a different social network within mere days that slapped off my see-no-evil glasses and spat slimy truth in my eyes.
Tumblr too, have been met with illicit data-mining activity – only they didn’t do it.
The following excerpt is from an email I received from Tumblr the same day Minds.com published their piece:
As part of our commitment to transparency, we want you to know that we uncovered and terminated 84 accounts linked to Internet Research Agency or IRA (a group closely tied to the the Russian government) posing as members of the Tumblr community.
Well, that’s just dandy.
The cold war never ended. It moved online instead, to Tumblr, to scout out comrades and enemies along the site’s cyber-trenches.
Can we really press on believing we aren’t being watched too closely?
Can we really continue assuming ‘advertising’ is the name of this dirty little game?
Can everyone stop asking me to join Whatsapp now?