Classy Writers

Classical Writers

Response to Google and Facebook

What does Google and Facebook know about you? Choose either Google (which also owns YouTube, Android, et al.) or Facebook (which also owns Instagram, WhatsApp, et al.) and take a look at what data they have collected about you and some judgments they have made about you. Google lets you see your activity that they’ve tracked across their different services (including location , searches (,and YouTube viewing, and how they’ve profiled you for advertising( ). Facebook makes it a little harder to find, but it does let you download an archive of all the data they’ve collected on you– make sure to look in the Index file, where you’ll find the raw data set, and the Ads section near the end (warning, though, that this is a big file and takes awhile to prepare and download). These two articles, from The Guardian and The New York Times have more information on this. After looking through the data they’ve collected on you, reflect on what this means to you. Even if you were aware that your use of these services for free was in exchange for your personal information, did you have a sense that this is what they would be collecting, or is this more than you were signing up for? What kind of picture of yourself emerges from this data? Is it an accurate representation of you? What kinds of decisions are being or could be made about you and actions taken toward you based on this data, as far as you can tell, and how do you feel about that?

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