Where Did Our Privacy Go?

Social media companies have exploited their users for their data and are using it wrongfully.



Over time, privacy has degraded with the rise of technology. Will this continue or will companies start to respect our freedom?

Jose Guzman, Staff Writer

People have always imagined of a dystopian future where technology consumes our lives and our information is completely exposed for all to see, but sadly this scenario is becoming closer to reality.

The modern world revolves around the internet and we all know it. Most people have social media and use it daily. Technology has helped in many ways, but it has also hurt us. Companies have found a way to enter themselves into the lives of everyday people without them noticing. As their reach expands, so does their amount of information. However, the misuse of people’s information is a serious problem and many people aren’t paying attention to it. 

The problem, in a nutshell, is that social media and various apps are taking personal information and selling it to private companies. Facebook is especially guilty of showing users’ information to private companies so that their advertising departments can find ways to better relate to potential customers. For example, if you make a post or even a message about wanting a new video game, ads for that game will begin to show up. Even though this might sound good at first, the user is not notified when their information is being used. Most people wouldn’t want some random footage of them to be released without their consent, so why should search histories or social media posts and messages be treated any differently? “The third parties that do business with these companies have access to your private data,”said Mr. Mohammad Ali, a social studies teacher at Round Lake High School. “You might think it’s safe, but it’s not because these companies can always sell your data for marketing purposes and to make money.”

Perhaps most alarming is that bulk of personal information is going toward helping companies with marketing and advertising, it’s possible to for these companies to do more than that. According to research by Villanova University, corporations can use bought information to pinpoint potential employees, access emails, and even find details about people’s personal lives—all without permission. “These companies may also use your data to influence your politics,” said Ali. “They might sway your vote or your beliefs to one specific party.”

Thankfully, these dangers are being exposed more and more to the public. The recent Mark Zuckerberg trials have definitely pushed these issues to the forefront, but it is still unknown who is to blame for this. “I think there’s not one person that we can blame for this,” said Ali. “Over the past 15 years, the technological shift is tremendous and this is cultural and psychological problem as well.” We can only hope for the best and hope that companies finally acknowledge their users as people and not entities to make money off of.

We can only hope for the best and hope that companies finally acknowledge their users as people and not money-making entities. In the meantime, try to avoid giving out your email address when filling out forms and be careful what you share online.