February 4, 2012

"You're not the customer; you're the product"

This most devastating article on Facebook articulates why Facebook makes me so uncomfortable.  While I did set up an account
so I could read linked articles, I don't use it.  I just have a horror of my personal information that I would post becoming Facebook's property and I certainly don't like its privacy policy.   

Log off! -  one trenchant sceptic describes how the social network is ruthlessly selling your soul   by Tom Hodgkinson

in all this hysteria about the vast sums involved, has anyone thought to question what exactly Facebook is selling? The answer is both obvious and sinister: You.

Terrifyingly, the social networking site turns you into a product. It makes your friendships, marriages and children into a product.

Facebook tells its users: ‘It’s free and always will be.’ Now consider this bit of wisdom: If you’re not paying, you’re not the customer; you’re the product.’

The site — founded by famously low-key American Mark Zuckerberg — has always presented itself as a sort of altruistic social service. Its tagline reads: ‘Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.’

Now that sounds fairly harmless. What sort of curmudgeon could object to connecting and sharing?  In actual fact, though, Facebook is a gigantic, and really quite frightening, advertising scam. Its business model is to collect information about individual consumers (you) and sell that information back to advertisers.

These advertisers include global brands such as Coca-Cola and Blockbuster. They are seeking to extend their domination across the globe — and Facebook has provided a brilliant way of reaching ‘consumers’ all over the world, without having to go to the expense of putting up bill boards or buying ads in glossy magazines.

Facebook can be compared to an advertising executive walking into the pub, sitting between you and your friend, and flashing ads at you while you chat.

Accepting something for free — in this case, a networking service — actually puts you in the power of the service. They call the tune; and here the tune involves relinquishing your privacy and being subjected to lots of advertising.
One way in which they do this involves using ‘cookies’. Each time you search anything on the internet, information about your activity is gathered by the search engine — most of us use Google — and then used to build up a picture of your interests.

Facebook has 845 million users worldwide, and each is asked to provide information on their spending habits. This they willingly do. Users also upload photographs of themselves. All this information becomes the property of Facebook and is stored on their databases.

News that Facebook’s Timeline feature — which will expose people’s entire history on the site — is to become mandatory has sparked criticism that users’ privacy will be further compromised.
Indeed, it is young people who are the real victims of Facebook’s stratospheric rise: exposed to relentless advertising, easy prey for the cyber-bullies which haunt sites like Facebook, and worryingly vulnerable to predatory adults.
Child protection teams warned that cases involving bullies and sexual predators trebled on Facebook last year
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:27 AM | Permalink

Scepticism on recent jobs report

I would love to believe that the new jobs report is as 'positive in every way' as the economists say in the Wall Street Journal - an increase of 243,000 jobs that pushed down the unemployment rate to 8.3%.

But Zero Hedge has a devastating rebuttal using the same statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Implied Unemployment Rate Rises to 11.5%.

the spread between the reported and implied unemployment rate just soared to a fresh 30 year high of 3.2%. And that is how with a calculator and just one minute of math, one strips away countless hours of BLS propaganda.

Record 1.2 Million People Fall Out Of Labor Force In One Month, Labor Force Participation Rate Tumbles To Fresh 30 Year Low

Another disturbing indicator Social Security Trust Fund Outlook Takes $1 Trillion Dive

The outlook for Social Security's trust fund has deteriorated to an astonishing degree over the past year, new Congressional Budget Office projections show.

The nonpartisan budget scorekeeper released the estimates Tuesday as part of broader economic and budget forecasts. CBO expects the trust fund to peak in 2018 and decline to $2.7 trillion in 2022 — a full $1 trillion less than Social Security's own actuaries predicted last year.

The new trajectory suggests that the trust fund's current depletion date of 2036 may jump ahead several years when Social Security's trustees release their annual report this spring, making the retirement program more central to the 2012 election .

We're not only not out of the woods yet, we haven't even fully recognized the problem..

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:26 AM | Permalink