Why Are Social Media Platforms Collecting Your Personal Data If They Aren’t Selling It?

Why Are Social Media Platforms Collecting Your Personal Data If They Aren’t Selling It?

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In a privacy conference in Brussels last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed his concern about the way companies are collecting and using user data, “Platforms and algorithms that promised to improve our lives can actually magnify our worst human tendencies. Rogue actors and even governments have taken advantage of user trust to deepen divisions, incite violence, and even undermine our shared sense of what is true and what is false. This crisis is real. It is not imagined, or exaggerated, or crazy.”

Today’s social media platforms started with the best of intentions but have become Orwellian and intrusive – they track user movements and behaviour, they data-mine user information and sell it to the highest bidder, they manipulate what users see, and they are biased and censor or de-platform users based on their political beliefs.

“I have been a civic leader throughout my career, including as a former commissioner for the City of Los Angeles. When I tried to use Twitter and Facebook to help in my efforts, I found a disregard for speech, privacy and the discussions were unproductive, unhealthy, and toxic,” said Jeff Brain, Founder & CEO, CloutHub.

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Restoring Integrity to Social Media

In a recent conversation with TMZ, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak expressed his concern about Facebook, “There are many different kinds of people, and some of the benefits of Facebook are worth the loss of privacy, but to many like myself, my recommendation is — to most people — you should figure out a way to get off Facebook.”

On July 11, 2019, US President Donald Trump hosted The Social Media Summit at the White House. This Summit was organised in the wake of some disturbing information from whistleblowers within the Legacy Platforms regarding the suppression and deletion of content with which they do not agree. Facebook recently updated its policies to reflect that bias in the most startling and transparent way.

Gizmodo reported that Facebook was mining uploaded address books to identify non-public contact information for other users. The report also noted that Facebook had previously denied the practice, acknowledging it only after independent research confirmed its existence.

The MIT Technical Review chronicled how YouTube is removing educational and historical videos. Even videos that universities use as educational resources have been removed under their recently updated “hate speech” policy.

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Shifting the paradigm is not an easy endeavour. CloutHub claims that they do not use user data or manipulate user beliefs. Brian said, “We created this revolutionary approach to user privacy and control after watching the legacy platforms – Facebook, Twitter and Google/YouTube – exploit their users’ personal information for profit and political purposes. Many new platforms are pledging not to sell your personal information. However, according to their privacy policies, they are still collecting intrusive data such as unique device identifiers. This often includes the serial number of your phone and computer, which can be used to track your movement or location. We made the deliberate choice not to collect or record this type of user data because we believe it is intrusive.”

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