So, full disclosure: I’ve deleted my Facebook account twice in the past 6 years. Last month I came back again after about six months away with a shamefaced grin. It made me sad to think about all of the people I know sharing their lives with one another, without me. If I’m unwilling to let those connections go, then I can’t opt out of Facebook.
But today I was reading this fantastic reporting in the New York Times about the company’s response to its many crises, and what troubled me is not necessarily that it knows everything about me–which it does–but that the best way to monetize that information is to zero in on the weaknesses: the points of ignorance, credulity, impulse, and reaction. It’s a vast database of personal pressure points the platform presses all day long.
Google has the same information, Apple has a lot of it, Samsung now owns a lot of my pressure points, and all of the apps, trackers, and aggregators on my phone, iPad, computers, and web browsers that don’t come from those companies know a lot about me. There’s no way to opt out and no clear way forward for any of us. Is there some combination of open source and paid platforms, along with encryption and data security practices that will save us?