Letter: We are responsible for our online privacy

Posted

To the editor:

An article by Preston Gralia published on June 7 entitled "How to protect your privacy on Facebook" began by asking, "Worried that Facebook collects too much information on you and makes it too freely available to advertisers and others"? For years, companies have used ways to gain access to our personal data for either their own marketing or to sell our information to marketers. Remember when you would go to the mall and right there in the middle of the mall would be a "brand new" car with a sign stating, "simply fill out this form for a chance to win this car." You would fill out the form with your name, address, phone number, and age and all that information was later sold to marketers.

Another example would be when you go to the grocery store, pharmacy or even the gas station and they want you to sign up for their store card to receive the savings. Don't you think they are tracking what you are purchasing and how much you are spending? Facebook, Instagram and all other forms of social media are only a new way for companies to track your habits and sell your information. Information gathering is changing with the times.

No matter what we do we must remember the internet is not a private outlet and neither is any website on the internet. If you are willing to post on your social media your pictures, locations, and every little thing that you are doing from morning to night every single day, then privacy must not much of a concern of yours. I know the argument is "I post only for my Facebook friends to see." According to statistics pulled from Pew Research Center and Statista, the average Facebook user has 155 friends but consider just 28 percent of them as a genuine or close friend and 39 percent of users state that they are connected to people they have never met in person. So, really, how concerned are you about your personal privacy? I would rather a marketer know that I like Dunkin' Donuts coffee than a stranger know that I am away on vacation.

Do I think Facebook selling users; information is going to stop people from using Facebook? No. There are 2.27 billion Facebook users and with a world population of 7.7 billion people that makes about 30 percent of the world's population using Facebook daily. Without accessing Facebook daily people would feel out of the loop and disconnected from "friends." Facebook has become a part of their everyday life and deleting their account would be equivalent to taking their cell phone away, and if people stopped using Facebook another social media site will replace it. Rmember Myspace?

Joyce Boivin,

Pittsfield          

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