Mark Zuckerberg has often said: his ultimate vision is to connect all the inhabitants of the Blue planet (and perhaps beyond) into a culture of integral sharing. We are not yet at the complete dystopia described in The Circle (video below), where micro-cameras film the least of our acts and gestures in total transparency, annihilating all forms of privacy. Even though some alarming signals, particularly in China, makes us think that a 1984 pattern might one day be materialize.
Sharing everything on Facebook or other social networks poses unsuspected risks, including being manipulated for political purposes. You have surely heard about the successful work of data mining by Cambridge Analytica on behalf of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. One would have thought that this team of crazy scientists would focus on targeting the users of Facebook just with the information available in the advertising tool of the social network…
A New York times article reveals that these information warriors (this is how they define themselves) have crossed the red line, by illegally collecting data shared by users via a third party, under the guise of so-called academic research, in order to map The American electorate and design their massive manipulation campaigns.
Cambridge Analytica has clearly crossed the line but, initially, it is the users of the social network who, for years, naively share their deepest thoughts on a platform whose parameters they do not master. A posteriori, we can get offended by the drifts to data mined unscrupulously but wouldn’t it be healthier to avoid sharing the clues that allow these crooks to (try to) manipulate us on a large scale? Would you share on Facebook the calendar of your outings to allow burglars to come and use them as they please? (In fact, you do it often, without realizing it…)
We will be able to give Internet users all earthly tools, but it is necessary that each one of us adapts its behaviour to minimise the risks of exploitation of our data. The less information you’ll share the more you’ll be preserved from all-edge solicitations. And if your temperament is full-sharing, check your privacy settings and, and if possible, reduce the amount of people with whom you share crisp details of your public or private life. Do not believe that only strictly political opinions can establish your voter profile. Your artistic choices, the tone of your comments, the frequency of your interactions and a host of other signals allow data miners to paint your portrait without your knowledge.
As the 18th century fable said:
It costs too much to shine in the world.
How much I’ll love my deep retirement!
To live happily, live hidden.