It finally happened. My mother joined Facebook. I’m not sure what the current population of planet earth is, but it’s probably around 1.28 billion. I know this because that’s how many people are currently using Facebook.
A few years ago when the company went public, people started complaining about a perceived lack of privacy. Most people were concerned that the constantly evolving format created a need to always be aware that what you were posting would be directed to the appropriate audience. What many people hadn’t yet realized was that Facebook had begun mining information at an unprecedented rate.
Sign-in to Facebook today and notice that those shoes you just considered purchasing are now featured prominently on your news feed. That Google search you just performed has now caused advertisements to display alongside your profile. It almost seems like Mark Zuckerberg is stalking us. Taking their data-mining scheme to the next level, Facebook has gone on a spending spree. They recently purchased popular apps Instagram and Whatsapp. Those who use these apps have probably noticed that you can login to them using your Facebook information.
As the complaints have increased, Facebook has come up with a proposed solution – the “anonymous login.” What it will do is allow users to login to third-party apps without giving any personal information to that app. However, Facebook will still verify your identity, know what app you’ve signed in to, and they’ll know how often you sign in and how much time you spend on that app.
It seems that “anonymous” doesn’t really mean what we thought. Where should the data-mining line be drawn?