Facebook stalking is a favourite hobby for many of us, but how much do we think about Facebook actually stalking you. Yeah, yeah, privacy blah blah it’s all been done before, but this isn’t what I’m talking about, rather, how the internet is getting to become one of our closest chums.
Recently, I’ve started reading The Filter Bubble by Eli Parise, in this he argues how large web firms are gradually gathering more information about us, personalising our web browsing experience through targeted advertising. He fears that because of this, the internet will always agree with us, so we won’t see anything that may challenge our views. For example, if you are a vegetarian, you will tend to see information that reflects in favour of vegetarianism, such as adverts, societies and conferences.
I’m sure we’ve all been a victim of the internet following us. You’re casually stalking your friends on Facebook, or doing a search on Google, and BAM! On the side, an ad catches your attention: ‘Female and study Computer Science? Apply for a scholarship to the Grace Hopper Conference’. Ok, in this case that information is pretty useful. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against personalised advertising, ofcourse it helps you find what you want a lot faster and more easily (and maybe even not what you want), but when does it cross the boundary? Yes, I act gay with my best friend, but does that mean I want to watch lesbian TV? No.
If you haven’t already, take a look at Intel’s museum of me.
This is a classic example of the cringe-worthy, narcissistic direction the internet is heading towards. Intel have brought together all your likes, comments and friends on Facebook, to walk through a gallery of your life. If you can’t stand doing this for yourself, take a look at some guy Steven’s museum
Although this is a pretty cool trick from Intel, it is still creepy, and essentially what these tech giants are doing with your information; just not providing you with the same kind of visual representation.
I once attended a Facebook conference in London. In this, Zuckerberg was saying how he wanted to make the internet more open, catering to what we want and how we want it. This seems to have worked rather well, with Facebook ‘Like’ buttons on nearly every webpage. However, whenever we perform this simple mouse click, we are gradually selling a part of our soul to the webbed world. But maybe this is a good thing, targeted advertising keeps the web going after all; at what point do people get frustrated and give up on what they want to find? Although, at the same time, the idea of the internet getting to know me better than I know myself? That’s scary.