Right now, a massive conversation has been launched about the value and danger of social media. Most of that conversation has centered around two specific problems: the first is privacy; the second is manipulation.
The first problem is the most obvious, and the most broadly concerning to the most people. People are worried that companies like Facebook and Google have been using all their data for purposes of profit-making or marketing, that they’ve been packaging that data to third parties or allowing third parties to grab that data without user permission, that the searches they’ve been entering with the assumption of anonymity aren’t anonymous in the slightest.
The answer to this is: of course this was happening. And not only was it happening, it was celebrated by many of the same people on the political Left currently decrying it. The Obama campaign was praised mightily in 2008 and 2012 for their masterful use of so-called “Big Data.” The worm has only turned now that Donald Trump is president and many on the Left are looking for someone to blame – and so they blame Facebook’s supposed focus on profit over privacy.