The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Control, Please?


As an existentialist, I know how important privacy is.

Long after I concluded that Facebook is the most UnAmerican company, new details have emerged.  We have just learned that Facebook pays App developers to include an analytic tool called “App Events”, which notifies Facebook of details in a person’s life.  For example, if you use the app to view houses, that information is sent to Facebook, including price and location, so you will receive advertisements focused on homes.  Even worse, if a woman uses the “Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker” (which is supposedly used by 25 million women), that deeply personal information is also sent to Facebook, so they can sell it to strangers.  I cannot imagine what sort of targeted advertisements result from that personal info?

So, when you download an app to your phone, what personal details are you volunteering to give up?  Avoiding Facebook itself is not enough.  They are soaking up your privacy whether you are a Facebook user or not.  All this is done just to send you targeted advertisements.

As an economist, I also know how important the savings rate is.

The savings rate in our country has dropped from 7% of national income to only 3%.  Both American and Canadian economists have concluded that at least some portion of that drop is due to the targeted advertisements of social media, although not necessarily Facebook alone.  This drop in savings may be good for the advertisers, it is not good for the country!  Who’s more important?

Just like cigarettes needed to be controlled, so does social media!

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