Big Tech Using Our Data: What's the Real Problem?


Large tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon are coming under increasing scrutiny in light of how Facebook mishandled millions of people's personal data. Many people are rightly worried about how these companies are using their data in targeted advertising. But is it as big a concern as some are making it out to be?

Technology scholar Mark Jamison does not believe it's a highly problematic issue. On the contrary, he believes that the way in which big tech uses our data is pretty normal, and it's been that way for years.

Some people worry that big tech companies are seducing you into spending more time online, all so they can monetize your data. Is this true? Yes, but not in a bad way! Big tech companies do try to get you to consume more of their services, just like Starbucks and the New York Times do. This is normal.

One common objection to social media companies' products like the Facebook app is that constant social media usage is not good for us. But it's not just social media that can create health issues over time.

Studies show that spending more time on Facebook is associated with greater obesity, less well being, and less real time with friends. But this is also true for television.

The problem, in Jamison's assessment, is that these companies are not transparent on how they are using the data we hand over to them. We voluntarily hand over our information to them when we sign up for social media accounts, but transparency from the companies is still needed after we sign the terms and conditions.

These companies are doing what many other companies have done before, just on a larger scale. Future companies will do it as well, and on even larger scales.

What are your thoughts on Jamison's view? Is he right that it's just a transparency issue? Let us know below!