Privacy is bad (for?) business

Well, Facebook had a big piece of news to announce today (the cash flow is positive). And so do I. And its about Facebook and how they earn their money.

Facebook can celebrate the positive cash flow because they sell your personal information to companies (400.000 companies are working with FB) – such as information about your photos, videos, notes, groups, joined events, relationship status, etc. And they wouldn’t celebrate today, if they let you exercise your privacy rights at Facebook.

In my search for studies on privacy  I came across the findings of Leslie John, Alessandro Aquisti and George Loewenstein. They three gentlemen has made some clever experiments documenting privacy behavior online.

In an online survey they asked a group of people to answer a series of questions about their academic behavior. Half of the subjects were asked to sign a consent (samtykke) warning before filling in their answers to the questionnaire. The other half was not asked to sign any consent warning.

As the author Ben Schneider notes: “The results showed that people who are reminded about privacy were less likely to reveal personal information than those who were not.

The social networking sites don’t want to remind users about privacy, even if they talk about it positively, because any reminder will result in users remembering their privacy fears and becoming more cautious about sharing personal data.”

If you are young or a heavy media user you might think; is there a problem here? And the answer is yes. Because one of the few fundamental right we’re born with in the Western World is the right to privacy – the right to decide when, where and for how long we will share personal information with other people or companies.

When you sign up to Facebook you’ll sacrifice a fundamental human right – your privacy. And who isn’t on Facebook these days. I’m certainly am, because I wouldn’t miss the social life happening out there.

Read about Facebooks privacy policy

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