person holding silver iphone 6

Facebook Privacy

Facebook’s philosophy is that society is in an age of information exhibitionism. In their view, people are not concerned with their information being shared. It is a time of openness and transparency. Per Facebook’s own terms of service, Facebook is paid by allowing advertisers to show users ads. The social network provides advertisers information on ad performance and interaction. Facebook also provides advertisers demographics and interest information of viewers. Information is what Facebook sells, so users do not have legitimate claims on privacy. When a user registers for an account, they need to agree to the terms of service. Facebook’s terms of service are clear that they will sell a user’s data. Users agree to give Facebook their name, their profile picture, and information.

Facebook has changed its privacy settings. They did so because of the Cambridge Analytica Scandal. Cambridge Analytica bought 87 million Facebook user data. This information assisted Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in their election campaigns. The data was also used by Brexit supporters to manipulate Facebook users. The data was gathered through a Facebook app called “this is your digital life.” Facebook has since suspended Cambridge Analytica. Facebook has ended partnerships with advertising data brokers.

Facebook has not changed what data they collect. They did make it easier for users to access and control their data being sold. Facebook redesigned its privacy settings from 30 locations to 1 location. The change was designed to make it more initiative and easier to navigate. One of the privacy settings is deleting old posts and pictures. Users can also delete old comments and likes. This information is sold to advertisers so they can tailor ads. Changing these settings will change what ads a user sees. Changing user settings with move people to different demographics. Old irrelevant data will not be used as true data about a user. Adjusting the privacy settings will also limit how someone can contact another user.

Dopamine via Social Media

Many years ago, I was your typical Facebook user. I over-shared details of my life and engaged in petty debates. The amount of drama was too much so I stepped back and disengaged. I found, however, that I experienced anxiety. I wanted to go back on even though I knew it was bad for me. Then I caught the tail end of a radio show which discussed the link between Facebook and Dopamine. I then wondered… are people who over-share online Dopamine addicts?  

According to the article “Has Dopamine got us hooked on tech?” Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. It helps us act to meet our needs and desires by anticipating how we’d feel after they are met. When a reward is anticipated, the need is met, then the action becomes a habit. The neurotransmitter is a part of that action/response relay within our brain. PsychologyToday.com goes further with the effects of Dopamine released via social media.  Eva Ritvo M.D. explains that when people see something attractive online, “dopamine is released in the same reward pathway that is stimulated when we eat delicious food, make money, have sex, or use cocaine.” Karen North, a social media psychologist from the University of Southern California, suggests that when someone posts online and receives a response, it is the same as when the “pleasure sensors and chemicals in the brain get triggered at exciting moments in movies and songs.” When there are large levels of Dopamine, the brain is overstimulated and then generates addiction.

So what do we do? Do we stop all social media? I don’t think quitting is a realistic answer for everyone. I think that if we post positive and creative content online rather than insults, we’ll develop a healthier habit/addiction. I think it would be beneficial to share a creative outlet and a body of work rather than an account filled with awkward debates and insults.

Works Cited

Barkho, Gabriela. “Facebook Pioneer Fears Site Warps Minds. That’s the Point.” Inverse. 09 Nov. 2017. www.inverse.com/article/38299-facebook-sean-parker-brains. Accessed 22 May 2018.

Parkin, Simon. “Has dopamine got us hooked on tech?” Guardian News and Media. 04 Mar. 2018. www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/04/has-dopamine-got-us-hooked-on-tech-facebook-apps-addiction. Accessed 22 May 2018

Ritvo M.D., Eva. “Facebook and Your Brain.” Sussex Publishers. 24 May 2012. www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-beauty-prescription/201205/facebook-and-your-brain. Accessed 22 May 2018

person using both laptop and smartphone

Pandora’s Box

When I read articles like this, https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42920554, it reinforces my belief that the collective humanity should not be connected. It is like the tower of Babel. However, it is too late and even if humanity wanted to it cannot change our interconnectivity.

Sometimes it is difficult to know that not everyone strives to be the best person they can be. Sometimes some people only live to behave like animals.