Questions that solicit and tease more information from you for alternative uses, even compromise, have become commonplace. I'm intrigued on one hand and befuddled on the other. At times I'm shocked into paralysis by the sheer audacity of the questions (#NOMAKEUPSELFIE, "I'm clearing out my Facebook friends list - tell me where we met", etc.). So, I'm going to be another buzzkiller on this issue, but, I can only hope that it raises user awareness about just what is going on with some of these antics on social media.
Everyone knows, or suspects, that personal information is being collected by social media platforms all day, everyday. It's true. The collection of metadata based on clicks and views is a well known fact. If you're a user it becomes a tacit acknowledgement of the nature of your relationship to the platform. It's free for you because you are the product.
Information wants to be free. Information isn't sentient or anything like that, what I'm saying is that there are no inherent controls on the freedom to access information. The only controls are those which we impose on the release of information. In essence, you have the right to remain silent.
It's not enough to just be careful. You should also know why it's important to be careful.The InfoBro
Information takes many forms. The forms and types of information are too numerous to count. Every element of information has characteristics or attributes. For the purpose of this article let's limit the discussion to images and tracking analytics. If you read my post on National Data Privacy Day you were made aware of privacy controls at your disposal on many social media platforms. What those controls can't protect you from is yourself. What I've noticed in these recent challenge campaigns is an interesting pattern of "asks" that drill down on the quality characteristics of the data being sought.
I've been seeing a "challenge" being engaged on facebook.com - I don't know how widespread it is - being called the #thenandnowchallenge. This "challenge" is a variant on a theme of so called challenge campaigns that mimic organic fund raising social challenges from some years past. To wit, what do I look like now versus the oldest picture that I can post to social media? To respond to the 'challenge' I'm asked to share relevance of those images. The images are of "me" and at a previous time versus now.
There are a number of ways that the information being shared can be graphed once the dataset is collected. In fact there are many "free" Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for that purpose. One common set of APIs can even be used to examine a dataset to enable facial recognition. I'm not going to go down any conspiracy rabbit hole here, I'm just stating the facts. It's fun and it's cute, but, it's your information; are you in control of it?
It's fun to connect and engage with friends and family on social media. Cute 'games' and 'challenges' are especially easy for soliciting engagement. But, be careful and understand what exactly you are sharing, potentially with the world or some unknown third party. Know your privacy settings. Configure your privacy settings. Understand just what you can control and exercise your right to remain silent.
Stay safe, don't click everything, share but not too much. Share this and Subscribe!
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