You’re al­ways be­ing watched

So you were just talk­ing about wed­ding dresses and sud­denly lacy, white gowns have popped up all over your feed. Co­in­ci­dence? No. Creepy? Def­i­nitely!

Glamour (South Africa) - - Insider / Web privacy -

Every photo you ‘like’ and every word you search is in­for­ma­tion har­vested by so­cial me­dia apps in or­der to curate con­tent that would be more rel­e­vant to you No, Face­book can­not read your mind (yet), but they are watch­ing your every move. Although, in many cases, this kind of data min­ing may op­ti­mise the user ex­pe­ri­ence, but when it ends up in the wrong hands, it can have very dire con­se­quences, as was re­flected with the case be­low.

It was only a few months ago when Face­book founder Mark Zucker­berg found him­self in the cen­tre of a PR night­mare. What was it all about? “Ba­si­cally, Face­book was im­pli­cated in a prac­tise that in­volved large-scale so­cial engi­neer­ing through data min­ing,” says Emma. “Cam­bridge An­a­lyt­ica (a Bri­tish po­lit­i­cal con­sult­ing firm) ac­quired Face­book user in­for­ma­tion and used it to in­flu­ence the out­come of the 2016

US elec­tion.” Yes, they are the ones largely re­spon­si­ble for Don­ald Trump.

With the per­sonal data of around 87 mil­lion users, this com­pany was able to tar­get spe­cific ad­verts at par­tic­u­lar peo­ple based on what they knew about them, in or­der to sway their po­lit­i­cal views, with­out the user’s aware­ness. “It was ba­si­cally one big pro­pa­ganda ma­chine,” Sarah adds.

Although there is still an on­go­ing le­gal bat­tle in this re­gard, data min­ing, on it’s own, is not il­le­gal “We may not be pay­ing for many of these so­cial me­dia apps with our money, but we do pay with our per­sonal in­for­ma­tion,” Sarah says. “Many peo­ple don’t read the terms and con­di­tions, they just click ‘agree and con­tinue’ and then want to be up­set when things of this na­ture oc­cur when, in fact, they agreed to it – whether they were aware or not. Un­for­tu­nately, you can try as much as you can to pro­tect your pri­vacy on these plat­forms, but by just sign­ing up, you’re al­ready giv­ing some of it up.”

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