The curious case of free internet and user privacy

Adam predicts that the time is not far when Facebook will start offering free phones to its users, along with free access to the web, so that the networking platform can track all your virtual movements. 

By   |  Published: 26th Jul 2017  12:03 pmUpdated: 26th Jul 2017  7:14 pm

Hyderabad: Surfing the web is fun because it is free, isn’t it? But, what if you are paying a lot, in other ways, to enjoy this ‘free’ internet?

Like most apps, websites and software that we use in our daily life, Facebook is also free, but the popular investigative comedian Adam Conover gives you a sharper perspective on that. In the latest episode of his web and TV show Adam Ruins Everything, he explains how the internet has managed to remain free, and how we pay for it with our privacy.

In the video, Adam reveals that the social media giant Facebook logs, records, and sells all user information. Everything you do on Facebook, from the pages you like to the interactions you have with friends or strangers, is secretly recorded, sorted, and sold, says Adam.

According to Adam, by computing big data, Facebook can build a profile of each of its users, complete with one’s interests, current activities, past activities, preferences, and even sexual orientation.

Once the computing is done, advertisers pay big money to Facebook so that they can find their target markets or buyers, Adam reveals. You might now be able to fully comprehend how and why Facebook ad suggestions show you the exact kind of skirts you like while the same ads don’t appear in your friend’s timeline. 

Adam ruins more of our assumptions of privacy with another claim — Facebook can monitor your activities even when you are not using it.

This is probably why when you look up the latest iPhone on Amazon and return to using Facebook, you are ‘suggested’ iPhone models in the ads on your timeline.

Adam calls this strategy “one of the most invasive advertising systems ever devised.”

Facebook is not the only player in this gargantuan game, Adam says; your whole virtual life is targeted in a similar way by other tech giants such as Google and Apple, among many others.

Adam predicts that the time is not far when Facebook will start offering free phones to its users, along with free access to the web, so that the networking platform can track all your virtual movements. 

And, this is not even the final stage, as the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) provides endless possibilities to corporations and governments. In the near future, every aspect of our lives could be kept under surveillance.

In the 19th century, American philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau had said, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.” It looks like we may soon have to follow in his footsteps.

Watch Adam Conover’s video here: