W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-privacy@w3.org > October to December 2011

The social graph is neither

From: Karl Dubost <karld@opera.com>
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2011 08:44:20 -0500
Message-Id: <998000EB-FB9A-40B7-A2C2-6B7F7D7D5984@opera.com>
To: "public-privacy (W3C mailing list)" <public-privacy@w3.org>
Very good reading about the crap around the social graph.
The "Social networks exist to sell you crap." is a well 
focused sentence articulating the two ways you can handle 
the issue:

1. We use ads to provide free services.
2. We use free services to sell ads.

Often businesses start with 1. but quickly turn into 2.
once the business starts to be profitable and it's why 
the "If you do not pay, you are the product." sentence 
is being more and more popular.


    Social networks exist to sell you crap. The icky feeling
    you get when your friend starts to talk to you about
    Amway, or when you spot someone passing out business
    cards at a birthday party, is the entire driving force
    behind a site like Facebook.

    Because their collection methods are kind of primitive,
    these sites have to coax you into doing as much of your
    social interaction as possible while logged in, so they
    can see it. It's as if an ad agency built a nationwide
    chain of pubs and night clubs in the hopes that people
    would spend all their time there, rigging the place with
    microphones and cameras to keep abreast of the latest
    trends (and staffing it, of course, with that Mormon

    We're used to talking about how disturbing this in the
    context of privacy, but it's worth pointing out how
    weirdly unsocial it is, too. How are you supposed to
    feel at home when you know a place is full of one-way

    We have a name for the kind of person who collects a
    detailed, permanent dossier on everyone they interact
    with, with the intent of using it to manipulate others
    for personal advantage - we call that person a
    sociopath. And both Google and Facebook have gone deep
    into stalker territory with their attempts to track our
    every action. Even if you have faith in their good
    intentions, you feel misgivings about stepping into the
    elaborate shrine they've built to document your entire
    online life.

    Open data advocates tell us the answer is to reclaim
    this obsessive dossier for ourselves, so we can decide
    where to store it. But this misses the point of how
    stifling it is to have such a permanent record in the
    first place. Who does that kind of thing and calls it

Karl Dubost - http://dev.opera.com/
Developer Relations & Tools, Opera Software
Received on Wednesday, 9 November 2011 13:44:59 UTC

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