Facebook is watching you

You are being watched. Although it is unlikely that a serial killer lurks in the bushes, and it is debateable whether or not the U.S. government monitors its people’s actions through security and traffic cameras, but a modern-day Big Brother exists where few people thought to suspect. Now, Facebook owns everyone’s souls.

Face(the site that will haunt us all)book started out as the relatively benign project of college student Mark Zuckerberg. I remember how people sung its praises when it was first released to the public. Early Facebook users spread the good news of its superiority to MySpace due to its secure privacy policy, lack of suicidal cyberbullying cases and ability to help users communicate and stay in touch with their friends. All it took was time for all but one of these to change. Facebook is still the best way to spam all 900 of your closest “friends” with meaningless status updates about how bored you are.

But things have really started to go sour. Because it was “free” to create a Facebook account, Facebook still needed to pay its employees; they needed a new way to create financial capital. At first, they struggled to produce income by including games with certain paid items on their site. Then Facebook realized that they already possessed the world’s most valuable commodity: information.

By this time, users already complained of the frequent privacy policy changes which constantly reset their settings to public, leaving private information on their profiles until they would realize and change everything to “private” again. Some wishing to leave Facebook had already noticed the conspicuous lack of an option to delete their accounts. They could only “deactivate.” Facebook knew that for them to make the most money, everyone in the world would need to have an account in which they disclosed as much information about themselves as possible to everyone else in the world.

The revelation was that with as much specialized information as Facebook collected from its users, it could sell very specific advertisements. It could also even use information users had already deleted or from deactivated accounts. Facebook, like the rest of the Internet, stores information forever. Information is power. Privacy is publicity. Deletion is death.

This power-hungry storage-center of information possesses repercussions from its lack of interest in securing its users’ information other than just those that affect it. Facebook has made it unbelievably easy for people to post things online without thinking of their consequences. With the illusion that only your friends will see it, a person can easily upload pictures from last Friday’s party for grandma or one’s pastor, and possible colleges and future employers will see it too. Even if users only post one questionable picture once, it can still come back to bite them. But that’s the cost of selling their souls for 900 friends.

There is hope, or at least the illusion of hope. A group of Austrian students is working to take down the corporation superpower in court. The group calls itself Europe v. Facebook and created a website for donations to challenge Facebook’s policies in Ireland, the head of Facebook in Europe. Let us hope those college kids have what it takes to reign in a billion-dollar corporation that can afford much better lawyers than them.

Until then, I advise every Facebook user to grow accustomed to being watched. It isn’t that bad until you step out of line. And remember, Facebook loves you.

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