‘If you are not paying for the product, you are the product’.
Free social media apps have nothing to ‘lol’ about. Have you ever thought why these things come free to you? Most of us think that wow these companies are so generous to create these social websites and social networking apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Snap Chat, Linked etc.
As they say that there is no concept of free lunch in this society, everyone has to pay for his or her meal. You can only borrow the meal, cannot get in donation, the longer you take to pay, and the higher the price will be. According to The Economist, ‘The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data’. Data has been named as Oil of 20 the century, meaning it has the same importance which the oil has been having all this while. Data is going to be the hidden (and apparent at the same time) agenda of the nations and companies. Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Google are the giants of data and their financial worth is unbeatable. Do they have a physical product? No. All they have is ‘Data’.
This March, Facebook announced the data theft of 87 million users and counting, around the world. A small deal. This incident is violation of user’s privacy. The world has come to know about this theft only, when the ‘so called hackers’, used the stolen data to post on the dark web (A term used to refer an online space used by data thieves, to post the stolen information). If this information was not leaked that they have used this data, the world would never know that 2 billion of its population has lost its data privacy over Facebook (considered as much secured social network).
Do we realize that every time we do an online activity -searching on google, creating a profile on Facebook, resetting our Microsoft password, linking an online account to another social network- we are sharing very valuable information over the internet?
Ever noticed, you hum a song for few days, soon you will see that song in your YouTube list. You meet a person, maybe take a picture with him, and he will show up in your ‘People you may know’ list on Facebook. It’s not funny, it’s scary. This is a big game, a game, which is beyond names and numbers. Spoken words are being counted, being around with someone or something, is enough to collect your data, through our (actually their) devices (Phones, tablets, laptops etc). In other words, it’s not fun as it looks like on your phone and laptop. It is a huge deal.
Facebook, one of the blue chips, cannot protect its data?. Or cannot resist to sell it? A question every user should ask himself. As they say, ‘If you are not paying for the product, you are the product’.
So before you share every single detail about your life, think about it. And let the awareness spread to our loved ones. Take Care...!!
RANA MOHSIN ALI,
Lahore, April 12.