Why Data Collection Matters
News about Facebook’s massive data leak has shocked the world in recent weeks. It all started when Cambridge Analytica, a data collection firm (hired by Donald Trump) illegally obtained the profile information of over 87 million users. This data was believed to have been used by Cambridge Analytica to target voters for the 2016 U.S Presidential elections.
As a result of the saga, a #DeleteFacebook movement started to trend worldwide when angry users started urging their friends to delete their Facebook accounts.
Should we even be angry and #DeleteFacebook
While Facebook could have done better to prevent the data breach, shouldn’t we as users be equally responsible for the safeguarding of our data?
The best way to prevent your data (and your friends’ data) from being misused is to stop clicking on all those personality profile tests, face switching apps, name test apps, horoscope apps, and all other apps. You’ll be amazed at what information you’re giving away. #MediaLiteracy
– Walter Lim
Moreover, is making a big fuss about Facebook collecting our data even a valid concern at all?
If you are one of those who got pissed off and tweeted #DeleteFacebook, please #DeleteTwitter as well. Also, stop using Gmail, delete your ride-hailing apps, unsubscribe from Spotify, Netflix or any online entertainment application, throw away your Fitbit and give away your smart TV.
Because similar to Facebook, all these companies are equally guilty of making millions off mining, decoding and to an extent, selling your data. I’m not going to talk about the Cambridge Analytica saga; I am however going to discuss the importance and necessity of data collection.
Affordable and convenient services come at a price
Many of the digital services we take for granted today are data-driven. The ability to connect with our loved ones across the world on Facebook without having to pay thousands of dollars; accessing and enjoying thousands of high quality shows on Netflix, and millions of songs on Spotify at an affordable price, all comes at a price — your data.
Data collection helps to solve problems and enable improvements
Beyond providing us with convenient digital services, data collection also enables the solving of complex issues and helps to drive improvement.
Healthcare data mined from companies like Fitbit allow doctors, nutritionists and scientists to discover health trends and in turn use that data to prescribe better health products. Locational data mined by companies like Uber/Grab can help governments develop better infrastructure for its citizens.
Data collection helps to drive innovation
Some of the best innovations are the result of data-backed insights, and the availability of such data is only made possible by data mining companies.
More relevance to your newsfeed
By aggregating data from your Facebook profile, the pages you like and interact with as well as the content you post, Facebook can develop a better ad targeting systems. This results in businesses becoming more targeted with their ads. To the consumers, it allows us to have a better newsfeed experience; to be served content that is relevant to us.
So, do you see the value of your data being available