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I, like millions of others, have willingly given up some of my privacy to Facebook to achieve a sense of connection across cultures, time zones and generations. But revelations of the alleged sale and misuse of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica has left me feeling betrayed.
Having lived in five countries in the past 20 years, friends and colleagues disappeared from my daily life, but our relationships were maintained through our online interactions. Our posts and emoji reactions expressing approval, love, sadness, surprise or anger revealed new layers of our personalities, values and beliefs. Without being in the same room, we built understanding, inspired one another, shared joys and commiserated.
Stories - Preferences - Images - Contacts - Relationships
I shared my stories, preferences and images with contacts to build relationships in exchange for targeted advertising that I could choose to ignore.
It seemed a reasonable trade-off to allow Facebook to mine that personal information for the purposes of targeted advertising. I bore the cost of the commercial use of my data for marketing that benefited the seller and me. I laughed when a Facebook ad tried to me sell me a T-shirt, bragging: "I run on feminism, caffeine and social justice." When companies offer me products or services that I need or like, we both win.
Professor - Innovation - Use - Data - Research
As a professor for social innovation, I support the use of data for non-profit academic research that helps create a better understanding of the society we live in.
But when it was reported that Cambridge Analytica had allegedly used that data in an apparent effort to sway political campaigns, I felt a line had been crossed. By giving third-party apps access to my data, I could have exposed myself and – until 2014, when Facebook updated its data use policy – hundreds of my contacts to the risks of such manipulation.
Revelations - Online - Campaign
The revelations prompted an online campaign to...
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