Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Decomposing the Facebook "Like" Phenomenon

Since most people who use the internet rarely are aware of its implications and complexities and since I work in IT and came across this ill LIKE image for whatever reason I'm deciding at 2:30 in the morning to rip open this Facebook "LIKE" phenomenon and why you shouldn't even be wasting your time if you are using it.

Numbre uno: In case you are unaware, whenever you use any device to connect to the internet you are leaving whats known as a digital signature such as the IP address of your PC which can be used to track your location anywhere in the world so in the case of the Facebook "like" button among other things whenever its clicked it registers the IP of your device and compiles geographic meta data on your location. So yes if Facebook wanted to they could potentially tell you everywhere you've ever clicked a "like" button in the world.
#2: Simply put - Why? Who even cares anyway? Or why would you even want anyone to know what your interest are anyway? The key point here is that unfortunately over time people have gotten so comfortable sharing useless information about themselves that if reverse engineered correctly if this information landed in the hands of the wrong people the average person wouldn't even stand a chance at defending themselves. After all who really volunteers their information anyway? I guess the old adage of "speak when spoken to" doesn't really apply online huh?

Number 3 - Oh and just in case you ain't know, big corporations pay Facebook as well as many other social networking sites for marketing information so essentially clicking on a "like" button over time becomes the equivalent of signing up for a mailing list or sending an invitation to a telemarketer to request to be placed on their  "call me whenever you feel like it" list. So actually whenever you think you are displaying an interest in a product or idea, actually data is being compiled on you about you being consolidated and sold to someone else. Companies pay Facebook to advertise on Facebook a selected demographic based on who's "liking" what. Where do you think those ads are coming from?

Four: Social Engineering. Whenever you click the "like" button ultimately you enable to collection and consolidation of data about yourself that can be used to discern and evaluate you as a person. Your music interest could help determine what clubs a person would attend locally, or a event "liked" could potentially uncover a persons location at a period in time or would a person would be, a"liked" comment could disclose a discrimination or perception of yourself that you may not everyone necessarily to know...I'm sure you get the message. And if you ain't heard by now many employers and organizational groups are beginning to use sites like Facebook to uncover discretely or non-discretely information about people that can ultimately be used against you so if I were you I would seriously considering pausing on that.

Lastly: Privacy no longer exist. If you wouldn't speak openly and honestly to a person you just met off of the street then why come online and disclose any significant or substantial information about yourself. Or maybe thats just it, people feel like "liking" something isn't really disclosing anything but actually thats the furthest thing from the truth.Instead of being the predator now you become the prey

Conclusion: Now if I wanted to I could probably sit here and disclose some of the potential benefits of the use of the "like" button but the reality is that they nowhere near outweigh the disadvantages so thats a blank point. Secondly, if you really take yourself seriously then take your browsing habits and the way you utilize the web seriously as well! I know most people think the internet is this magical world of unlimited interaction and access to information, and to be truthful it is, but its also quite frankly the equivalent of swimming in a pool of sharks.

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