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Why Do You See Annoying Ads, And Can You Do Anything About It?

Have you ever looked at a product on Amazon and then a few moments later went to check Facebook, and you seen an ad for the product you just saw on Amazon? and thought to yourself this is annoying Why does this happen, will it ever stop?

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Have you ever looked at a product on Amazon and then a few moments later went to check Facebook, and you see an ad for the product you just saw on Amazon? Why does this happen?, you wonder as you scroll down through your feed.

It is because sites such as Amazon and the like keep your data. And in turn, Facebook has access to this data. This is a concern for many people who value their privacy or for those who believe that the internet, especially social media such as face Facebook, is a private space, where they are free to express themselves because of the supposed anonymity of the internet. However, this is not true the internet is not a private anonymous place.

The argument that this article is going to make is the following: the internet is part of the public sphere, it is not a private space, it is a part of the public sphere, and two, that both users and the big corporations both have a technological determinist view of social media. This means while they both believe that the platform itself is neutral, they place the responsibility of what goes on in the platform on another.'

I believe that some of the concerns over privacy stem from the fact that most people believe that social media is part of the private sphere. This is because most people use social media sites such as Facebook to post information about their private lives. Posting things such as pictures of their children, and pets and the like. Some go even further and post about their wild parties they’ve attended. We’ve also seen the hilarious (to us) consequences (such as getting fired) of those who have gotten in trouble for these parties. It is because people do get in trouble that we can clearly see that the internet is not a private sphere, but a public one. What is a public sphere, you may be wondering?

Public spheres according to Jürgen Habermas, are places where people can gather, and express and share their thoughts on matters with one another; originally it was used to spread political ideas and news items. The term “share” is key because social media encourages sharing of everything. Therefore, some people share things they shouldn’t. For example, the people who called in sick to go to a party, and have their bosses find out, and they suffer the consequences.

Arguably the reason why people feel the need to share such private information is because Facebook and other social media platforms are accessible from the privacy of one’s bedroom. One could argue that it is this fact that causes the lines to blur between what is the public sphere and what is the private sphere.

Furthermore, the argument could be made that because social media is in the public sphere, that it is perfectly acceptable for advertisers to show us ads that are relevant to our interests because they are using the public sphere to ensure that their message reaches as far as possible just as the purpose of the public sphere intends. The spreading of a message that they deem important.

Finally, this issue seems to be technology deterministic. That Is that is, the technology is seen to be neutral, and both the users and the corporations put the blame and responsibility on each other. An example of this is the Facebook privacy settings which claim to give leave the control, and therefore the responsibility of their own privacy in the hands of the users. For example, you have manually change your Facebook Privacy settings otherwise they will be left in the default setting per the article You Need to Update Your Facebook Privacy Settings — Again.

Facebook puts the responsibility in the hands of the users because Facebook is a corporation, and not a free service as some people would like to believe, even though the website its self is free. Because Facebook is a business, it needs to make money. The same can be said for other social media websites. One of the ways that it makes money is by selling the data of its users to advertisers. Which is why Facebook will probably continue to sell your data, and why, you will probably continue to see ads for products and services that you just looked at moments before.

Furthermore, there are other websites who promise not to sell users’ data. However, they will continue to collect it to stay relevant to the users. Until as in the article When a Company Is Put Up for Sale, in Many Cases, Your Personal Data Is, too that when the website goes bankrupt personal data will be sold because it such a valuable commodity. This once again puts the ownership on the corporations and websites.

At the same time Facebook and other websites are selling your data to advertisers, there is are rising concerns from users that Facebook and other social media websites are invading their privacy by taking their personal information and selling it to big data corporations which in turn sell it to the government. There are exceptions to this, such as Apple not allowing the F.B.I. to unlock the phone of the perpetrators of a terrorist attack last year per the article Apple vows to resist FBI demand to crack iPhone linked to San Bernardino attacks. This is important to note because it just goes to show that the internet is more complicated than just a series of tubes.


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