At What Point Will You Demand Your Privacy? - The Reykjavik Grapevine

At What Point Will You Demand Your Privacy?

At What Point Will You Demand Your Privacy?

Published May 13, 2016

Jóhanna Pétursdóttir
Photos by
Wikimedia

Everyone knows social media—especially Facebook—and uses it so frequently that it reflects a big part of our lives. Deleting it is not an option anymore because, to put it drastically, you would delete a part of yourself.

I kept denying the impact of social media until I saw the documentary ‘Facebookistan’, which I highly recommend. This impact has been pointed out many times, but it doesn’t seem to have entered into the thinking of the masses—myself included—who use Facebook. We have created a certain position for ourselves through all kinds of social media, and that is how we identify parts of who we are. There is no way out.

For social media to have this kind of runaway success, it should claim some virtues: connecting people, and giving everyone a voice. But is this really the case?

After all, the image we want to present is rarely fully aligned with who we really are. A Russian photographer demonstrated as much when he photographed random strangers on the subway and then used a face finder app to locate his subjects on a social network. Not only is it disturbing, in a privacy sense, how easily he found these people online, but it is also strange how most of them do not look on their profiles as they seem in real life.

We all want to position ourselves in a different way (some more obviously than others), hiding behind our computers, phones and tablets, making it so easy for these companies to compile all the data we are so happy to provide them.

Through these images and posts everyone is supposed to exercise their freedom of expression. But Facebook never states clearly what users can and cannot publish. And how could it? Facebook does not even know what is and what is not allowed.

This social medium uses moderators—a fancy word for people in developing nations working night shifts for $1 an hour, deciding what is and what is not allowed. It is a subjective process with little to no regulation, entirely left up to the discernment of a particular individual.

If you do anything that is not according to their inconsistent rules, you are out. Individuals cannot question Facebook’s rulings because there is no means of directly contacting the company.

There is no transparency in this organisation whatsoever, which claims they want people to be transparent while invading their privacy.

Being considered a part of the “Facebook generation”—remarkable how this one social medium can cover a whole generation and more—I feel inclined to say, I do not think social media succeeds in connecting people or giving them an honest voice. It merely gives people these illusions, while they actually become more self-obsessed and isolated.

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