Top of Mind Thursday April 12, 2018: Enduring, Not Endearing

Top of Mind Thursday

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent two days this week testifying before Congress, in the wake of the discovery that as many as 87 million Facebook users may have had their personal data compromised.

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The hearings themselves shed little light on the situation, but don’t expect the issue to go away.

Facebook users are upset that their data was sold to outside firms–yet they themselves volunteered to take quizzes, answer personal questions, reveal their buying preferences, etc.

There’s no question that Facebook should have been more transparent about how data was being used. But the fault is not entirely with Facebook.

Anyone who posts personal information on a website, social media, or an app needs to know that there’s someone listening, watching and collecting keystrokes. Sometimes that results in better targeting of content or advertising. Sometimes the outcome is more nefarious.

What we have to remember is that the Internet remains enduring, NOT endearing. What we share online will likely be seen and used by others, and it can always come back and hurt us.

Should we have better privacy protections? Probably. Can we count on that happening? Unlikely. In the meantime, feel free to invoke Linda’s version of the Miranda Rule:

You have the right to remain silent and not respond online. Anything you do say may be held against you in the court of public opinion.

You give up these rights at your own risk. Caveat emptor.

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