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[liberationtech] CNN writer on leaving Facebook

Michael Rogers michael at briarproject.org
Tue Feb 26 07:47:02 PST 2013


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On 25/02/13 19:03, Raven Jiang CX wrote:
> I think a subtle difference is what exactly the bargain entails. In
> the case of television advertising, it's a relatively
> straightforward exchange of your attention for entertainment.
> Facebook is asking for more than that. The marketing is less
> oppressive because they receive the addition payment of your
> personal information. No one really knows what that information in
> aggregate is worth or can be capable of achieving in the long term,
> so I suppose implicitly the users (at least those aware of this
> bargain) are betting on it being worth less than the services
> Facebook provides.

I don't think framing it as an individual bargain fully captures
what's going on here. Each user gives Facebook information not only
about themselves but about the people they know (including those who
don't use Facebook). So it's a social dilemma or tragedy of the
commons: the cost of each person's privacy choices is shared by
others. Each user of Facebook produces a negative externality that
affects those around them. As such, perhaps the appropriate metaphor
is not "personal information as property" but "surveillance as pollution".

Cheers,
Michael

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