In his book 1984, George Orwell detailed a dystopian world wherein a person or persona called “Big Brother” saw everything that people did and where the central government pushed its agenda through propaganda, spying, monitoring, and thought controls.

That book was published in 1949. It is now 2017, and while we do not exactly have a Big Brother persona governing us, the Orwellian scenario is pretty much familiar. And it is not by means of some ultra-fascist government or political party. Rather, our loss of privacy and Big Brother’s influence on us are brought about by none other than our penchant for sharing on social media.

What privacy?

In 2013 Vint Cerf, who is considered as the father of the internet, said that “privacy may actually be an anomaly.” Throughout history, people preferred communal settings in just about anything — the concept of solitude and privacy was something limited to monasticism.

Greg Ferenstein outlined the history of 3,000 years of privacy through 46 images. You might notice that history agrees with Cerf — and the artworks and imagery at least showed how people did things on a communal nature. It was only during the industrial revolution that we started to have a preference for privacy.

And with the rise of social media, that cycle means we are now moving again toward loss of privacy.

Imagine how much people have been sharing online, with friends and even the public. This includes photos, status updates, locations, all that while tagging friends who may not be aware they are being connected with photos, events, and places.

It’s not even limited to Facebook. No matter how little you share, all the meta data involved in just about anything you do online can constitute your digital persona.

All of these digital crumbs, so to speak, paint a digital picture of us, which bots, machines, and even data scientists, can lead to our digital makeup. Add to that the evolving technologies of facial recognition and machine learning — this means tech companies might know more about us than we do.

And this is extremely useful to anyone who needs to do any customer targeting. Ask advertising agencies and marketers.

In fact, ask Facebook.

Did you know that the social network may have the capability to listen in even when we are not actively sharing information or using the mobile app?

Facebook may be listening

You heard that right.

Given the amount of permissions we give social networks when we install apps on our mobile devices, we might as well just hand them over privileged access to our personal lives. With passive listening technologies, for instance, Facebook might be able to eavesdrop on conversations.

In 2016, a University of South Florida mass communications professor, Kelli Burns, shared her observations that the Facebook app delivered content based on things she mentioned in a conversation.

The idea that Facebook is passively spying has since been debunked, and Burns herself said her comments may have been taken out of context. However, this does not preclude the fact that Facebook itself has admitted to using smartphones’ microphones whenever necessary. “We only access your microphone if you have given our app permission and if you are actively using a specific feature that requires audio,” it said in a statement.

  • anonymous4u4me

    Anyone that cannot see Facecrook is their enemy, must be deaf, dumb and blind. Are your lives so meaningless that you need this social media crap to feel alive and part of something? You have given your enemy so much valuable information about you, your family, friends and more and it will be used against you and them one day, and you will not have the brains to know it. If you have any common sense left, if you have any functioning brain cells left, leave face crook now and delete your account, while the information you have given them along with pictures and more will always be available to them, leave and they just might dry up.

  • Tim Hadfield

    I loathe farcebook

  • Zaphod Braden

    ZUCKerberg wants to censor who uses FACEBOOK —- but says WE CANNOT censor who comes into Our house?!
    Take the locks off his doors.
    Take those WALLS down from around ZUCKerberg’s houses.
    NEVER allow him to file a “breaking & entering” complaint because ZUCKerberg wants anyone to be able to “break & enter” America.
    By the way …..ZUCK thinks he can just “share” our house/Nation …..
    he never served in uniform so he should “share” all his money with those who were wounded saving HIS FREEDOM and PROPERTY.
    Since ZUCK does not recognize Our property rights to Our country then he has no property rights to “his” money.

  • Poptoy1949
  • gmatch

    I don’t use Feecebook!

  • chris

    facebook censors content posted. claimh it violates community standards. you are advised to review those sill standards but are never,ever informed of exactly what it is that you did to be censored. big brother? yes ,definitely. accused and sentenced with no defense allowed. i am surprised people use facebook for anything personal.

  • Kim Chul Soo

    F**k Fakebook and all social media.