Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Social Media Whore!

During my usual early morning online newspaper perusal I came across an article on CNN that stopped me cold in my tracks. The article was titled “Facebook lets users opt out of facial recognition”. Apparently Facebook is rolling out a facial recognition feature and all of us have already been included in their database. You have a choice to opt out of it, and I am so going to, but opting out will not remove you from their system. If this is shocking to you, it does not even come close to what Google almost did! Although I am a total Social Media Whore, even I have a problem with it! This may sound like something the CIA, MI6 or Mossad may have concocted to track down terrorist, but it is not. However, the principle remains the same. Reflecting on this I could not help but wonder where we are heading and how much privacy we will have once we get there.
As most of you know I am a social media whore: I’m easy, I’m cheap, I give pleasure and I welcome traffic and lots of it! I am all for shameless social media self promotion and if spamming wasn’t a bad thing I would have been the Queen of that too. But with social media making the world more accessible, helping dreary old people like myself become Internet Superstars (well not really), there are also some draw backs. You sacrifice your “anonymity” and just as you like snooping or spying on other people’s profiles to see what they are up too, sleeping with, fighting with or breaking up with, you can be rest assured that the snooping and spying are reciprocated. And now Facebook plans on over exposing us and exploiting our privacy even further.

Facebook’s new facial recognition feature will scan all images posted to Facebook (an estimated 100 million per day) and suggest the names of people appearing in the frame. Even if you opt out of this clear violation of your privacy, the tool will still scan your face and identify you but just won’t display your name. So, if you plan on falling down drunk at a party, posing with that stripper or playing tonsil hockey with a person other than your husband beware. If you’re snapped in a compromising situation you will be identified and tagged for the whole world to see. Personally, I do not allow any likeness of myself to be placed anywhere on the Internet without it being extensively photo shopped. Firstly, because I look so much prettier airbrushed and secondly, I am hardly ever recognized on the street because of my extreme photo editorial tyranny. So naturally this new feature horrifies me but not as much as what Google almost did.
Google almost went one step further with an application they planned on releasing but thankfully didn’t. Recently Google decided not to release an application that would let someone snap a picture of a total stranger’s face, using a Smartphone, in order to find out who that person is. Now why the fuck would you want to do that? And why the hell would I allow a total stranger to snap a picture of me anyway? This clearly wasn’t thought through thoroughly. Imagine walking down the street minding your own business. Then unexpectedly someone, who has been secretly stalking you for months, jumps out of the bushes and snaps a picture of you on his BlackBerry. Confused and before your eyes can readjust from the phone’s flash, the guy is gone and now knows who you are and possibly also will have access to your other personal details. Apart from being wrong, it is fucking scary! But whether we like it or not, if you’re a Social Media Whore like me things will only get worse.

It’s weird to think that just a mere six years ago I didn’t even know what Facebook was. And when I logged on for the first time I thought it was pretty stupid. The same goes for Twitter. Jump to the present day and now I have almost 5000 friends on my Facebook Profile, just over 6000 fans on my Blog Fan Page, just over 2000 tweeters following @gaywars on Twitter and just over 300 followers on Blogspot. In a mere six years I have gone from John Doe to super Social Media Whore with “Unique Hits”, “Follow”, “Like” and “Share” as my drugs and STD’s of choice. With every update, tweet and blog post I allow my entire international plethora of "Johns" into my life, my private thoughts, my joys, my sorrows and my rants. And I do so voluntarily. Then is it not bigotry of me to have a freak out about a photo application than can tag me in unedited photos of myself?
Well no! The difference is that now I can choose what I share with my readers, followers and friends. The pimps want to change the rules for this Social Media Hooker and I am saying NO! No, no, no! We are heading down a very perilous slippery slope and if we are not careful we will end up having no privacy, no control and this I promise you on my dead MySpace’s profiles grave - it will not end well for us! I am a proud Social Media Whore but even I know where to draw the line. Nice as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Blogger maybe there should be boundaries and we should have a say as to where these boundaries are set. Google before you Tweet may be the new Think before you Speak, but never forget that whatever you write inevitably will be read and, at this rate, soon privacy on the Net will be dead!

Till next time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

god this is disturbing

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