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Isn’t it interesting to talk about Facebook to those who don’t know other than – ‘I am addicted’: ‘I put all of my business on Facebook’:’ I spend all of my time on Facebook’: ‘my friends and I talk all the time on Facebook’: ‘I used to email, but Facebook is so much better’: ‘with Facebook I feel as though I belong’. But it is sensational to talk to people who have a deep, historical, psychological and cultural knowledge of Facebook.
There is nothing like a bit of breakfast conversation among strangers. People who will probably never meet again but are together for a short period of time and who use that breakfast conversation to sort through complicated societal, cultural and economic institutions and/or the development of cultural and social mores. Especially if those conversations are honest with nothing held back.
We had no idea how invasive Facebook is becoming and how indispensable it has become to this society – both to individuals and large corporate conglomerates. It is developing its own niche – especially amongst the young but also gaining ground amongst the older crowd.
We had a very disturbing experience with Facebook recently and started poking around to understand what happened. At the same time we threw Facebook out as a topic for breakfast conversation and the response was electric.
At breakfast, one person said – I used to post a lot to Facebook. I don’t anymore. I only post very generic, announcement things. I have gone back to email, which may not be entirely private but at least I know someone will have to have a court order to see what I have been emailing. When I have something to say to friends, I send them an email. Just think, we used to be concerned about the lack of privacy emails produced. They seem like Fort Knox compared to what Facebook has introduced into society. My friends could send my emails on to others without my knowledge, but they can’t send thousands of copies of my emails to others, which is the affect of Facebook on what I post out there.
During this breakfast conversation we discovered there are several ways Facebook totally invades your privacy. The basic one is, they have privacy guidelines and from what we heard, it is a word game because they don’t follow and apparently don’t intend to follow what it means to have privacy laws.
They will scream loudly at this because Facebook claims to have solid, written and circulated privacy policies – which they do. What is not showing in those policies is that they are subject to constant change and the change looks suspiciously like a company encouraging you to trust them with your information because they handle it with care and totally within their privacy laws and at the same time, it looks as though they will change those privacy rules when enough information has been accumulated to justify new and expanded contracts with the large corporate entities who can use that information to exploit John and Jane Q. Public.
When you join this corporate entity called Facebook, you discover that it is full of people who have given no thought to the institution to which they are contributing all of their life’s information. That can be a horrifyingly mysterious experience, until you begin to understand the lay of the land. How does one discover that? Look into how Facebook makes its money and that will clearly lay out its priorities. We discovered, at breakfast, that Facebook makes billions selling your private information.
Once you join Facebook, all over its pages you will find there is a strong pressure for you to “like” some group, business, industry, celebrity, etc. What happens when you do that? The entity you have ‘liked’ has a Facebook page on which they post much – and what they post shows up on your Facebook page, whether you understood that was what you were really allowing or not when you clicked that ‘like’ button. No wonder there is such an intense push to get people on Facebook to ‘like’ so many things.
To “like” anything on Facebook gives that entity the right to post to your Facebook page and whatever you post in response shows up on their Facebook page – sometimes. It can be very disconcerting to have all of this stuff showing up on what you thought was your private page for you and your friends. Now you realize, it is open to the world and you only have to “like” the rest of the world for them to partner with you on Facebook to receive what you share with friends.
How do so many entities have so many “likes” on Facebook? You advertise for them. We wondered why one advertised on Facebook since it rarely brings increased business. It does bring hundreds of new “likes” to you and those “likes” are what give you access to hundreds of people. People whose Facebook pages are now your personal property to do with what you ‘like’.
HYPOCRISY ALERT: These privacy guidelines are temporary. Once you become comfortable with your personal information being kept private by Facebook and you begin to reveal more and more that you would not reveal if you knew what was coming, those privacy guidelines change and there you are in the middle of your Facebook page with – symbolically – no clothes on, because Facebook has changed its privacy laws and protections and what you thought was private is now out there for the world to see and use. Well, not really the whole world, only those who have bought contracts with Facebook to receive your information within seconds of your postings. But – you are not fully exposed because you are still ‘protected’ with their new privacy laws. Except lots of marketing and other institutions now have information which you didn’t intend to provide, but which they now have and can use because Facebooks’ privacy laws changed and now allows them to receive that much needed information.
And now Facebook has the possibility of gaining new contracts from ever larger and some smaller entities because those entities can now see how this business can work to their advantage.
Another wrinkle discussed at breakfast is what happens when you sign in to the different groups to which you belong on the internet – not Facebook – but you sign in with your Facebook password. What does that do? It allows Facebook to send to the large marketing, retail and other large corporations just about all of the information on your Facebook page. Information they could not otherwise access, such as – your ‘friends’ and other stuff that is off limits to those individual people who want to join your merry band and who would like to see that info before deciding to befriend you. They can’t see that information because of Facebooks strict privacy rules, but those large corporate entities can access all of it because of your tendency to be a bit lazy and want just one password to remember – Your Facebook password. Large groups can now access everything you thought was private and there are no restrictions on what they can do with what was your personal and private information. Actually, that information is still off limits to the little person, but the large corporations now can access it all – if they are paying Facebook properly.
Another new wrinkle and new opportunity has popped up. When you join a group which is a mini-facebook, – such as is now becoming more common – such as your Church, club, social group, companies you buy from with a password to their site and more – a part of what those groups can offer is for you to link your Facebook page to the information or your profile on their site. What does that do? Think about your bank! It allows Facebook to give them, not just what you post to your Facebook page, but all of the information you thought was private and members of those groups can now post to your Facebook page.
Small social groups, small Churches – Synagogues – Temples – don’t have the IT capability to do anything with this information, but the large groups which you access via a password, but now access using your Facebook password, can post to your Facebook page and those in the group can also post to your Facebook page from the Group’s supposedly closed shared internet space. This gives those with whom Facebook has partnered the most amazing and complete information about you. In affect it is everything you have on Facebook, including any new posting they or others can now make. It is quite powerful for these groups to be able to post to your Facebook page from your mini-group internet gathering place, but even more powerful for Facebook to be able to sell information about the groups to which you belong; the companies with whom you do business; the retail internet places where you buy and why you buy, etc.
I used to wonder how some companies received so many hundreds of millions of dollars to develop their start-up idea. After this breakfast where everybody shared what they knew about Facebook, I now know how one group is selected to receive and one group must struggle. To receive huge amounts of money from ‘venture capital’ groups, or individual investors who want to contribute mightily to your idea, you must have a start-up idea which rips off the public for the benefit of these large institutions . It has very little to do with anything else.
Facebook was an electric idea. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that Facebook opened your private world to marketing, advertising, strategic planning groups with the kind of information they had not previously dreamed they could ever access.
The minutiae of your lifestyle; your choice of friends; things you talk about to those you know and trust; your likes and dislikes and how and when they change; what you buy or have just bought and why. Facebook is also constantly coming up with new and different ways to satisfy this bottomless pit of the need for your most private information. You – your friends – your family – your professional associates are all the subject of marketing mining; of giving up your most private information so the multi-nationals of the world will know how to manipulate your desires, wants, needs, to increase their bottom line.
The most lethal part of Facebook is their constantly changing privacy rules, because there are always new people joining who have not experienced the jarring instant change of privacy rules which allows those with contracts with Facebook to gain massive new information about you which you thought would always be kept private. And that information is gained by those contract holders in seconds. You can fight those changes in privacy laws, and possibly they will be changed back – rarely, but it is possible. That does nothing for you because your information went into the hands of those who could afford those very expensive contracts with Facebook almost immediately. And not just once, but every time you post anything to Facebook, it is in the hands of those marketing people immediately.
And we worry about identity theft? That is like worrying about the lone ant when the elephants in the room are sitting on your chest and destroying everything around you that you hold dear. We have created a world where most of us are prey to those who want to use us to be the consumers of the products, ideas, and more that they are producing without our giving thought to the basics of whether the product contributes to a good, healthy, caring lifestyle! – do we need this? is it good for us? will it enhance the quality of our lives or do the opposite? and more. Our payment? The ability to be rendered more and more thoughtless in the way we live through this psychological manipulation, with generations to come not understanding the history of our and their lives and who do not understand that this is any kind of problem.
The information flow continues through our continued use of Facebook and some other large groups like them, as they now stand.
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