News Response #6

There has recently been a widespread movement by celebrities and public figures to leave Facebook, after it was revealed that a company that worked on Trump’s campaign gained access to users’ personal information. This, again, ties into the discussion that we have had about data and the privacy of data during class. Generally, people seem to be okay with Facebook and other companies having access to their personal data in order to better advertise towards them; this movement did not pop up until after it was revealed that personal data may have been used for political information.

This movement is very strange to me, personally. “The personal is political,” after all. The things that companies advertise and the way that companies advertise to Republicans and Democrats are very different. Therefore, if a person’s personal information being used for personal purposes (i.e., advertisements) is okay, then why is a person’s information being used for political purposes not okay? Many, if not most, people are even aware that the information that large Internet companies like Facebook and Google gather is sold to third-party companies, again in order to advertise or simply to aggregate data. This fact, combined with the boycotting of Facebook, raises a few questions for me. Are those third parties assumed to be politically neutral? Are Facebook and Google considered, by these public figures that are now deleting and boycotting Facebook, assumed to be political neutral? If not, why is a political third party collecting data so unacceptable to these figures?