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STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT INTERNET PRIVACY

Every few news cycles, a new “controversial” report wafts in from the ether announcing that “users of the (fill in the blank) social networking site are up in arms after it was discovered owners of the site have been selling their contact information.” The story will, no doubt, go on to say that people have started to leave the site in droves after the latest news, swearing off the horrible corporate conglomerate that their favorite site has become. Here’s the thing though, assholes. If you don’t want your information given away, then STOP SIGNING UP FOR INTERNET SOCIAL NETWORKS! Here’s a quick question: How many of us pay for services such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and what-not? Like, you know, pay actual money for them? None? Is that a fair estimate? So, to clarify, someone is providing us with a place to: (a) post obviously vital-to-the-rest-of-society photos of us drinking; (b) snippets of conversation we overheard on the bus and why specifically the person saying it is dumb; (c) a way to hook up with girls we knew in high school but were too afraid to approach at that point in our life because, listen, sometimes it takes a little while for a man to emerge from his shell when it comes to talking to girls, you know? (I might be projecting a bit there.) And they’re giving it to us for free? And you’re complaining about it?

Remember how our uncles always said “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” This is the sales pitch we must listen to if we want the free steak sandwich. This is the price we must pay. And the question lingers: What are they actually doing with that personal information? Not surprisingly, in more cases than not, they’re giving it to advertisers. Why? Because since the dawn of Don Draper, advertisers are always looking for large groups of data, preferably in that sweet, sweet, luscious 18-to-34 age range. And social networks provide lists like that in droves. Advertisers, meanwhile, are willing to pay handsome funds for that information. And hey, what do you know, if you’re in the business of starting and developing a popular social networking website, what’s your primary concern? The well-being of a bunch of strangers who, once you reveal the smallest change to how the website operates, will spend time Photoshopping large genitals onto your face? Or making a shitload of money? If your answer is not the latter, you’re simply being un-American. Which brings us to our final point: The fact that you’re on a social networking site in the first place shows that you really don’t care too much about your privacy.

You know who never would use any of the online networks? The Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. You know why? Because he had things to hide, namely blowing shit up. You, on the other hand, don’t. No one really cares about you. I know, you may feel special because you have an entire web page devoted to your various goings-on. But guess what? EVERYONE has that now. If you don’t have one, you probably actually have MORE going on than everyone else simply because you don’t even have the time to update it. You really have nothing to worry about when it comes to keeping your privacy. The government isn’t combing through your photos looking for evidence of bong use, and your employers aren’t checking your Facebook status updates to make sure you aren’t talking bad about the company. And you know what? If they actually are, and they find those things and send you through the proper legal channels, then who’s the dumbass Mr. Falcon for putting those photos up in the first place? In conclusion, if you’re dumb enough to sign up for a social networking website – any of them – you are no longer allowed to complain when that website sells your information to the highest bidder. Stop being stupid.

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