It’s Official: Social Media Sites Work Co-operatively with Government Agencies

Posted on October 3, 2011


Ever wonder why with all the public outcry no legislation has been promulgated to have been passed that would restrict information gathering by the social networks?  Every time I go to my G-Mail mailbox and find that Google has organized my e-mail according to those they have determined are “Important” and “personal” my disgust at the ability their computer system has to analyze my correspondence so thoroughly makes me want to close my account.  I don’t bother because, well, because Yahoo, HotMail and others do it more or less to the same extent.  Why?  Because of their business model – making money by sharing your information.  Sharing you say?  But with whom?  Everyone and anyone who will pay for it.

The social networks are aligned with the e-mail services and search services and share information.  Now it has come out that law enforcement routinely requests information from Twitter, FaceBook, and etc.  The US Government will want to know more about just who was demonstrating on Wall Street last week and one of their first stops will be the cell phone companies, Twitter and Facebook to see who sent messages to whom and who all of your friends are.  It is insidious.  But it is the way of the world today.  It is how and why these companies were set up:

Although such companies try to keep their users’ information private, their business models depend on exploiting it to sell targeted advertising, and when governments demand they hand it over, they have little choice but to comply. [Reuters.com]

When will we learn that every time you visit a site on the web and click on that “like” button sponsored by FaceBook that you are being tracked.  Then there are the unseen tracking cookies that are attached to your software when you visit Twitter, FaceBook and etc.  It is as if the internet – the world wide web – was indeed the construct of a clever spider and we have become trapped in it.

Every time you send a picture of your kids to FaceBook to share with grandma and grandpa and the other relatives, you are sharing it with a host of other organizations.  And those pictures will be on file for 2 or more years.

Facebook has made tracking fun by allying itself with vendors such as the one that sells all manner of plans and animals for “farms” you set up.  When you  sign up for a farm, all of your information about your friends, etc. is uploaded to that vendor’s website.

Each time you include a family picture on your blog, it could end up in a Google Gallery.  SamHenry has had that happen and SH knew when she did it that would be the outcome and this is the heart of the matter.  If you are informed about what is really going on with the social media sites and your mail server then fine, continue as an educated consumer who knows the outcome.

Each time FaceBook changes its site, know that you may have to redo all of the privacy settings that you had.  Many may have disappeared.  Always remember that while we marvel at our connectivity via the internet and the social media sites, there is a price to be paid for the “privilege.”

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