Not just big brother: The whole family is watching

AJ Dimas-Lehndorf November 8th, 2016


Social media is probably the worst thing that will happen to your privacy in your lifetime. Many users of new media (myself included) enjoy sharing posts and activities in the pursuit of online popularity. While we believe that we are sharing personal things with our friends and family we are simultaneously disclosing personal information to the social networks themselves. Facebook collects endless amounts of personal information, but it has not been very good at protecting it. In 2010, Facebook was involved in a scandal when journalists found out that it had been selling your personal information, including your name, with advertisers. The sad part is that this scandal was one of many. Facebook has made improvements in the way it manages user privacy, even placing some of the control in the hands of the user. That said, blunders like this one have continued.

The most concerning part about the relationship between user privacy and new media is not what you’d expect. I’m most afraid of the government (which I otherwise trust (hey CSIS :)). I recently saw that new Snowden film, which dramatizes the story of the NSA contractor who exposed government programs and initiatives that compiled terabyte upon terabyte of personal information on the internet, primarily through new media. If the NSA can access all of my most personal information, then who else can? and how could this information be used against me?

Conspiracy theories aside, I have noticed a shift in interpersonal relationships. With the advent of social media, my friends are much less inclined to send me personal emails and messages to keep in touch, because in theory, my life activates are published. This publication is only theoretical, though, because most people only post the life events that they want to present, effectively constructing a façade.

Why do we even use social media then? Because it makes us feel connected. Despite my significant privacy concerns, I am not willing to live under a rock, because I like my Facebook friends (and validation that likes gets me).



2 thoughts on “Not just big brother: The whole family is watching

  1. I believe this is the first time, if I understand your post correctly, that people are actually editing their social media posts to help conceal what they hope to keep private from the prying eyes of big brother. It still seems strange, though, that people still opt to use it. Do people have a choice? Is there too much peer pressure or social pressure to keep in touch through this form of media? The human species is a social creature so you would think this would be an ideal way to express the desire to be social. Who is screwing this up for us? I can understand people not wanting to be used as a commodity but why do we fear someone finding out personal information? Wouldn’t it be that the more personal information that is out there about you the more likely it would be that you would only be conversing with people of the same likes and interests making it even more successful? It would seem that the more exposure there is, the less foothold big brother can get.

    Thanks for the post, Cam


  2. Personally, (as I think I’ve talked about before, forgive me) I like to keep the “social” out of social media. I don’t like following people I know and care about, because it reduces my actual engagement with them. I’d much rather write that longer message to them to ask them how they’re doing or what they’re up to. It’s more personal, and in my opinion, more authentic. For the same reasons, I refrain from posting on Facebook entirely, and my personal Twitter account is intentionally a garbage heap of non-sequiturs and unfunny jokes. Friends definitely don’t feel like they’re informed as to the state of my life after viewing my posts.


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