4 Crucial Data Privacy Actions You Can Take After Watching The Social Dilemma

by Nate Ryan

4 Crucial Data Privacy Actions You Can Take After Watching The Social Dilemma
  • Your behavior on social media can be used by data brokers and advertisers to target you, predict your actions, and influence your decisions 
  • You pay with your attention and you must be cognizant of what you give your attention to 
  • We can demand that these platforms be developed with our wellbeing in mind 

Personalized recommendations for what we see on social media turn users into easy prey for advertisers and propagandists. We essentially vote with our clicks and pay with our attention. The saying goes, “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product,” and this is more true now than ever before.  

“We are more profitable to a corporation if we are spending time staring at a screen, staring at an ad, than if we are spending that time living our life in a rich way with our goals, our values, and our lives” 

Justin Rosenstein 

Co-Founder of Asana and One Project; Former engineering lead at Facebook; Former product manager at Google 

Whenever we post something on social media, we are voluntarily sharing our personal information with the world. The Social Dilemma provides a compelling lesson in data privacy and shows us why it is so important to be vigilant about who has access to our information. By understanding the risks associated with social media, we can better protect our private data and maintain our online privacy. 

Online behavior tracking takes the guesswork out of marketing. Not only does this influence the things we buy, but also how we view ourselves and the world around us.  

“It’s as if we have less and less control over who we are and what we actually believe.” 

Aza Raskin 

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Former Head of User Experience at Mozilla; Inventor of the Infinite Scroll 

What can we do to fix this problem and, in turn, fix ourselves? 

  1. Limit social media usage 
    • Turn off unnecessary notifications 
    • Curate your feed to empower you 

What we must remember is that we have the power to have a healthy relationship with social media. We don’t have to be slaves to our devices. We don’t need to follow people or brands that make us feel bad about ourselves, and we can unfollow anyone who doesn’t make us feel good or is just trying to sell us something.  

  1. Call for social media regulations 
    • Demand for products to be developed with our privacy and wellbeing in mind 
    • Know your rights and speak up about your need for personal data protection  

Currently, personal data is a precious commodity that advertisers, governments, and the like can use for whatever they want, whenever they want. Just like any other commodity, there must be universal regulation agreed upon by the distributor and consumers. For example, Joe Toscano, former Experience Design Consultant at Google, and author of “Automating Humanity” presented the idea of taxing companies based on how much data they use like how much water you use. We can demand to not be an extractable resource.  

  1. Opt out of personalized ads 
    • Limit the information advertisers have access to 
    • Control the ads you see online 

As stated earlier, you pay for these platforms with your attention. The accounts you follow, the posts you like, and the information you engage with create a customer profile of you that advertisers can use to target you and influence your decisions. While personalized may be more relevant than un-personalized ads, the more information you have out there, the more you are susceptible to scams.  

  1. Use HOGO to remove your personal information for data brokers to use against you 
    • Data brokers sell your personal information to third parties or use it themselves for profit 
    • Use hogo to request removal of your personal information from data broker websites 

There are hundreds of data broker websites buying and selling your personal information, often without your consent. The risk of your personal information being leaked or breached is much higher when your data is available. With hogo, you can defend your privacy by removing your information from these websites and stop scammers in their tracks! 

by Nate Ryan Nov 15, 2022