Friday, July 4, 2014

Social Media May Ruin Your Life

            It is no mystery that social media is viewed as a great communication tool but also as a terrible way to weaken real human interaction. The Internet just makes it so easy – many would say too easy – to lose touch with reality by still feeling connected somehow. However, most people understand and know about this current issue; what they don’t know is how social media can directly infringe upon someone’s human rights by simply “agreeing” with the terms and services contract before signing up – yeah, that thing no one reads goes against your rights.
            In most terms and services contracts, there is a policy stating that data may be collected to help improve online services. This allows social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to change people’s online screens and interfaces in order to experiment and figure out what customers (you) like. Most of the time the tests are harmless, but Facebook recently went too far. By manipulating news feeds to show more negative posts, Facebook intentionally worsened more than 300,000 users’ moods and online experiences. Although it doesn’t seem too awful now, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
         What Facebook did is still unethical and only opens the door to what it (and other online companies) can do while still remaining legally allowed to do so. The worst part is that it’s our fault; we gave big corporations the power to disregard our privacy and manipulate our emotions by merely clicking the “I agree” button. It’s that easy… and it makes the Internet scary.
            As a generation of tech-savvy individuals, we take the Internet for granted and think of it as little harm to us; it's simply a mechanism of instantaneous access to information and communication. We need to realize that our right to our own privacy is being taken away willingly. Companies are not going to stop using us as lab rats because we chose to be them. The most we can do about this is get angry and hope that we’re not a part of the worse experiments. I guess this is the cost of “free” online services.


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