Over the last couple of days, my Facebook News Feed has been inundated with people posting the declaration that their content on Facebook is copyrighted and violating their privacy is punishable by law. That ought to scare Facebook!
The real issue is the desire to protect our privacy online. We share photos and videos, but then we don’t want people peeping into our virtual windows. We post on our Timeline a request asking people to change their setting so our comments and likes don’t appear. HELLO! If you don’t want your comments to show, DON”T COMMENT. After all, Facebook is a SOCIAL network.
It would be interesting to know how many of the people sharing these posts play games on Facebook or use one of the hundreds of apps out there. When you use these 3rd party apps, you are granting them permission to view all of your personal information and build a marketing profile targeted to you.
It would also be interesting to know how many have a Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or AOL email account. How many of them are surfing online using Google, Yahoo or Bing? Have you tried posting an email in Gmail stating that your information is private? Believe me, Google has a thorough knowledge of your surfing patterns and uses that to personalize your search results and the ads that correspond to that.
But let’s drop a little further down the rabbit hole. Do you watch movies on Netflix? How about buy books, movies or music from Amazon? Don’t think for a minute that they are not building a profile on you. True, they may say they don’t sell your information to others companies (neither does Facebook) but why would they even want to? Amazon wants to keep you in the fold and does a good job of dripping on you regularly.
How about your smartphone? Do you have any apps on there? Do you “check in” at different locations? Or search using your phone? Could Siri be quietly taking notes in the background??? You think all that information that passes through your phone just vanishes into cyberspace?
Let’s go one step further. If you haven’t already done so, go to www.spokeo.com , put in your name and see what comes up. Chances are you’re going to be shocked. Spokeo aggregates information from various sites around the web, including public records, and compiles a profile that includes your street (often times with a view of your neighborhood, if not your house), family members, where you have lived in the past and even a wealth rating and credit rating. (Some of this information may require a paid membership fee to be visible.) How’s that for privacy?
When you get to the bottom of today’s connected world, it’s scary to think how little privacy you really have. So I really don’t care if Facebook has access to content I post publicly. That is the least of my concerns. If it really bothers you, there’s a simple answers – close your Facebook account. But for complete (as complete as possible today) privacy, maybe you should consider a modified version of Abbie Hoffman’s hippie declaration, “Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop Out.”
Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing. The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.