So, were you one of the millions who “rainbowed” your profile pic on Facebook to show your support following the SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage? I was, and quite happily. Then the Atlantic ran this story, speculating that perhaps Facebook was conducting some far-reaching “experiment” on its users. It also speculates (in the subtext, of course,) that Facebook has likely done this before, and leads readers to surmise that the company may even be actively doing it for pay.
Facebook has never made any claims that it is NOT collecting your data, even on a random Wednesday. In their data policy, which you can find at https://www.facebook.com/policy.php, they clearly state – in a jillion different ways:
“we collect the content and other information you provide when you use our Services”
“we collect information about how you use our Services”
“we collect content and information that other people provide…about you”
“we collect information about the people and groups your are connected to”
“if you use our Services for purchases of financial transactions…we collect information about the purchase or transaction.”
And so what if Facebook WAS conducting some big-data test with the pride-your-profile-pic exercise? Big woop. It’s astounding that, in an age where we share more personal information than ever, that we’ve become so hyper-sensitized to that information maybe kinda sorta being “used” for some purposes other than my Grandma Susie seeing my latest motocross bike race. (It was kind of badass, by the way.)
Whether we like it or not, we’re slowly but surely crossing the threshold from web 2.0 to (the social web) to web 3.0 (the predictive web) as a result of all this data tracking that’s going on. It, too, will ultimately make our lives better in ways we probably can’t even imagine right now.
So let’s do a snap poll – provide a simple YES or NO answer in the comments section below (and of course, any comments you care to share are more than welcome):
Are you okay with social media corporations like Facebook and Twitter monitoring your online activity to make assumptions or test hypotheses, whether they be theoretical or commercial in nature?
I’ll start. YES!