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Terms and Conditions May Apply - My Response

This past week’s reading and film have raised a myriad of issues that apply heavily to our generation of social media users. I have a lot of thoughts about the issues presented, so I think I will break up my thoughts by topic / sections and toss out some blurbs for each. Here we go. 

Privacy and personal advocacy: In his statements, noted in both the readings and documentary, Mark Zuckerberg claims that Facebook is about sharing and networking to broaden one’s community to an entire campus or village next door. Perhaps he really believes in this ideology of universal sharing, or perhaps he backs it because the value of his stock is contingent upon this very thing. Either way, Zuckerberg, the man with ultimate Facebook literacy, is an advocate for default sharing. If we, the users, are not advocates for our own privacy, no one else will be. To advocate for our own privacy, Facebook users must employ a high level of social media literacy; a literacy many users do not have. Zuckerberg knows right well the level of literacy and personal advocacy his users possess, and he is capitalizing on that knowledge big time. The 2010 user backlash to make privacy settings more friendly to the majority was a huge step in the fight for the ability to self advocate for personal privacy. We will see how well the public is able to mobilize and organize to stand up against Zuckerberg, and these issues, in the future. 

Morality: When users get in an upset about online surveillance, the typical response narrative has something to do with behavior and morality of internet users. The government and big corporations that lobby for continued surveillance using this rationale will face opposition. The big issue here is that this rationale asserts that adults are not allowed to have secrets, or anything they might be embarrassed of, leave the confines of their minds at any time. The suggestion is that if people are concerned about being surveyed online, they must be acting immorally. This is ridiculous. All big corporations and the government have managed to do with this assumption is to attempt to conform a massive democratic, capitalist nation to a standard of Christian based morality. There is a separation of church and state in the US for a reason, one of which being to prevent this kind of conformity. The thing to remember is not to let entities bigger than yourself, like big corporations, tell you how to live a chaste life. The way to a successful, fulfilling, moral life is a personal path; it will not and can not be fully dictated by the state. 

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