Is it all Facebook’s fault?
How easy it is to point the finger at an American giant for its mistakes and especially not to question yourself. I will spare you the biblical reference of the straw and the beam, but I have a feeling that once again the human being is unable to ask the right questions when he makes mistakes. Let’s be clear: if Facebook can now sell ultra-fine targeting to advertisers, it’s not just Mark Zuckerberg’s fault. We users have our share of the responsibility.
Scandals that have the merit of raising the debate
Far from me the idea of defending the daily tracking that the GAFA impose on us. The fact that Facebook scans my phone calls and SMS made outside of its application irritates me to the highest point. We must challenge this type of practice and demand greater transparency in the collection and use of our data. The implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) should send positive signals on this subject in the coming months.
In recent weeks, there have been a number of speeches claiming the deletion of his account or their favorite social media app. #DeleteFacebook, #DeleteVero, #DeleteGrindr, who will be next? Some do it by opportunism to benefit from an announcement effect and we will see in a few months whether the consequence of a massive desertion from social networks is real.
If the scandals Cambridge Analytica, Grindr or Verodo not cause not the death of these social platforms, they will at least have the consequence of putting a latent subject on the table, the very basis of the economic model of these applications.
Since Facebook has existed, the network is regularly qualified by the following adage: “If it’s free, you are the product”. Nothing new under the sun, our every action on the most used social network in the world is tracked and then monetized. This awareness is probably one of the causes of a use of Facebook that has become passive (like a traditional medium) to the detriment of its conversational DNA. Facebook believed that it was enough to change your algorithm so that users can speak again, but the Cambrige Analytica scandal has passed by and the unease promises to be much deeper. We are witnessing a real crisis of confidence which will only be resolved by giving greater importance to ethics and transparency.
Some recently published articles pretending to discover the situationmade me jump. The only conclusion to this scandal of the use of our data could therefore be summed up as follows: Facebook = bad guy / User = victim. Really ?
Our egos are cash machines
Let me add a little nuance to this. If these networks exist and have a flourishing economic model, it is also thanks to our little navels.
At its inception, web 2.0 was full of good intentions and wanted to give everyone the power to express themselves to as many people as possible. With social media, we have all become media with the power to recommend over our peers. Is. And what did we do with it?
This allowed freer, sometimes contradictory opinions to emerge from a standardized media statement. Blogs and then social media have seen their influence explode and beautiful things have been born thanks to this overhaul of the power of expression.
But the 2.0 model also made it possible to invent the selfie that our Quebec friends call selfie. Here we are, a beautiful human weakness capable of generating a maximum of cash, our ego. Me I. My life is great. I have the best job in the world (mea-culpa, you pierced me to date).
The observation is sad, but when you give someone the floor, they tend to talk about themselves. And Facebook is reaping the benefits. Excuse me dear Facebook friends, but no one has forced you to specify your dating situation or place of birth. Nobody forced you to publish the “3 month ultrasound” of the youngest, not yet born and already digitally identified. No one is forcing you to speak out about your political or religious views.
Dear Grindr users, horrified to see that data as sensitive as your HIV status had been sold to third-party companies, no one forced you to give this information to use the app. Clearly the way Grindr does business here is unethical (not to say gross) but you are also responsible for letting a third party service create a business model on it.
What do we do now?
We start by asking Facebook to be accountable and to be more transparent, ok.
But shouldn’t we also raise awareness among younger generations (from elementary school or college) to the use of the web, social networks and their consequences? Some will say that it is not for the school to manage this, but unfortunately we cannot rely on parents alone to fulfill this mission. Because parents are today the first addicts (the word is out) and children are sponges who copy their behavior.
Perhaps we should learn to prioritize the sensitivity of our information and ask ourselves what we are prepared to hand it over to a third party. Personally, I have no problem making my sporting and leisure affinities known to Facebook in order to be better targeted. On the other hand, giving my fingerprint to Apple against the simple fact of unlocking my iPhone seems expensive to me.
It is time that we all realized that in order for our privacy to remain private, it also depends on us.
Passionate about travel, Sébastien became interested in community management in the tourism sector in 2010. In 2015, he founded the My Destination agency, a specialist in conversational marketing in the tourism industry.
With his team based in Bordeaux, he supports tourist destinations, ski resorts and tour operators in their communication on social networks. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sebastienrepeto Twitter: https://twitter.com/seb_repeto