I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did [Social Networks and the Death of Privacy]

By: Justin McHugh

Introduction: Since the creation of Facebook, people have been flocking to social media to have their voices heard. Facebook now has over 750 million members making it the “third largest nation in the world.” With so many followers, Facebook has essentially become its own nation with its own followers, financial system, legal system, and relationships with fellow real world nations. Just like with any nation, there are issues of privacy and governmental intrusion into people’s lives. Generally, Facebook and the Internet have never given great reverence to users’ privacy. Instead, Facebook and sites like Spokeo continue to collect data on people and sell it to the highest bidder. Spokeo and Facebook are a part of a “multibillion-dollar industry of data aggregators.” These companies take Internet users data, bundle it up into neat little packages, and sell it to all sorts of interested third parties. Advertising agencies, businesses, and government agencies can all benefit from the research and use of this data. Advertising agencies can develop more narrowly tailored marketing strategies to get individuals to buy things that they do not really need. Businesses can perform intrusive background checks on potential employees. Lastly, the government or big brother can keep a better eye on us with promises of better security and protection. The true repercussions of the continued sale of our search histories and Internet use are the loss of our privacy. Sadly, one judge even went as far to say that once you start using Internet services, “the right to privacy is lost, upon your affirmative keystroke.”

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