An article published in the Economist in 2017 said that data is the new oil. Recent history has seen massive amounts of data becoming available on the internet, especially through social media. The data created in the social media universe can be accessed by data miners and artificial intelligence (AI) creators. A 2019 global report on internet use by Tech Jury claims that two hours and twenty-two minutes a day is the average amount of time spent socializing online. AI requires vast amounts of data in order to be successful. This is because it uses massive amounts of data to make predictions. The more data available, the better AI programs will function. As an internet user, you are creating AI just through your data alone. Facebook recently released 87 million profiles to the data analytics firm that was hired by the leave campaign advocating for the UK to remove itself from the EU. Allowing personal ownership of one’s data might be a way to overcome some of the privacy issues which emerged with the digital age. Recent companies such as Wibson have allowed users to own and sell their data on their apps. Time will tell if the public gets tired of the lack of privacy on sites like Facebook and turns to alternatives.
Teen users of Instagram are increasingly switching to business accounts to get better metrics about their posts. These accounts show how many times posts have been viewed, at what times their posts are being viewed, who likes their posts and how many likes and views they’re getting. Sounds great, but according to Facebook, which owns Instaram, business account holders are required to make their email and phone number available to the public. When a teen is involved that’s a problem. Alex Meron-McCann from the cyber security firm McAfee, warns of serious consequences for teens who share personal information by using business account. Alex is especially concerned about sexual predators contacting kids through these accounts. Data Scientist David Stier tells us that millions of teenagers have switched to business accounts; he also emphasized that if a 13-year-old develops a business account their contact information is available to over a billion people. A Facebook spokesperson explains that their set up process warns users that their contact information will be available to the public if they switch to a business account. Is this feature enough to keep a generation of young people safe? Given fair warning, is Facebook responsible if someone blows through warning and misuses their platform?