Nowhere to Hide

We cannot ignore the consequences of a worldwide database. The question we must ask ourselves is are in control of personal privacy and data?  One of Facebook’s goals is to organize the world’s information. Not exactly a straightforward task. There has been much criticism about privacy policies, including Facebook’s terms of agreement that claims to own the license to copy, publish, store information, not to mention its deterministic News Feed. Facebook Connect allows your online identity to be omni-present and uses the universal log-in to monitor and collect data. While you are connected to Yahoo, CNN, Gawker, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook is delivering advertising data to companies through HTTP cookies. Facebook would not be a multiple billion dollar company without Internet user monetization. This ties Terranova’s discussion of free labor in her article Producing Culture for the Digital Economy. She argues that free labor translates into the exploitation of our “knowledge” and consumption of culture. She talks about the social factory which transforms the worker into a digital artisan that chooses to work and give time (aka participate on social media platforms) in exchange for the monetarization of that information.


The habitual sharing of information, for example your Facebook profile which lists your favorite books, stores, movies, bands is used by Facebook to create engagement ads. Facebook has recently designed Partner Categories, a tool that target ads to more categories of people. It gives advertisers detailed information about offline consumer behavior. “For example, a local car dealership can now show ads to people who are likely in the market for a new car who live near their dealership,” Facebook states. “To date, advertisers have been able to show ads to people based on their expressed interest on Facebook. Now with partner categories, they can also show ads to people on Facebook based on the products and brands they buy across both the desktop and mobile”. Facebook uses cookies to monitor browser activity, online shopping in particular. Partners Acxiom, Datalogix, and Epsilon make up Facebook’s other targeting tactics which track and record our offline shopping habits. Like Google search that uses ADwords to link relevant advertisements according to what search words you use, Facebook defines its users commercially. The issue of individual privacy vs. government and private corporation control of information within the technological domain highlights age-old tensions between the freedom of the individual and the maintenance of social order.



~ by oliviachernoff on April 1, 2014.

One Response to “Nowhere to Hide”


    strong title, mixed with images that help visualize your concrete examples of how media is everywhere and tracking everything we do – and not always consciously.

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