Always consider an email as a post card you send out is the best advise or warning or caveat one can give when communicating through digital means and social media. This means anything you say can be seen and recorded by someone else or stored somewhere else where it can be harvested and used. Anyone who has run his or her own website will know that user information and statistics is one of the data harvested by the all platforms from static websites, blogs and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Nothing in life is free and the Internet is no exception. There are two ways the Internet and Social Media makes money: First, They sell to its users products and causes; And Second, They sell its users to businesses and organisations. Selling products and causes is more or less straight forward through advertising, marketing schemes and propaganda any product — a gadget, a cause, a person and an idea — can be promoted. Now, through the digital and social media platforms they harvest data — personal data, preferences and actions — are sold for use in the following: (1) to create leads ( a customer list); (2) user data to help focus on campaigns both for strategic purposes and implementation.
This nature of the Internet and Social Media has largely been ignored for years. A number have been cyber-utopians believing only on what we believed to be the “good side”. It took the revelations from its use in the political battles that such concerns have come about.
Like any technology — the printing press, radio, television and film it — the Internet and Social Media can be both dark and light. It is a 100 percent dependent on the one using it.
So what are the possible solutions to the challenges of information abuse?
Legally require the Internet and Social Media multinationals to have private options as a detail?
Create a code of user information use?
Strengthen legally the Right To be Forgotten Clause?
Boycott companies that use its user information as a business model? In which case be prepared to abandon Facebook, Google, Twitter and others?
Regardless on the steps taken to overcome these problems. We must be always aware that the Internet and Social Media is a public space where nothing is free and your information is a commodity to be traded. And, If you want and value your privacy you have to spend time and money to educate yourself and use technologies to protect your information. This is the life as a commodity.