With Facebook, we are the product

The aphorism is true: If you’re not paying for the product or service, you are the product or service being sold.

Even those “private” messages are up for grabs for advertisers.

“Like most people who use computers, the information in your private message or Web search is being sold to an advertiser. The ads continue to follow you around, popping up at the most inopportune moments when a friend, relative or co-worker happens to be near your screen,” says journalism professor and freelancer David R. Wheeler, who lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

“We get Facebook for free, and we do our Web searches for free, but the price we pay is our personal data, which are used by advertisers to entice us to buy things that they think we want,” he explains in an op-ed piece for CNN.com.

So good news for consumers, not so much for small businesses …. Wheeler would rather pay a premium price to avoid being bombarded with, for instance, wedding ads just because he searched for diamond rings when he and his now wife were exchanging so-called private messages about getting married.

What about the the woman who discovered she was pregnant, then had a miscarriage. She said continuing to get ads for baby items was like salt in a wound.

One out of 6 people worldwide uses Facebook. Would you pay for a bit more privacy?

Click here for his full article.

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