Face the Face | Urban Living
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Face the Face



For the past few weeks, all the buzz has been about Facebook. The social media giant has been publically busted for not holding up its agreement with users to not sell information about its members or allow companies to mine Facebook data for their own profit. Big duh. I believe that the minute I signed into the internet some 25-plus years ago, my details became public. I think I joined Myspace—at one time the most visited social network site in the world with 75.9 million unique visitors—in 2006. My internet footprint left tracks allowing folks to categorize me, follow me, put me in a demographic box and deliver me to advertisers and bad guys with a big fat bow on top. From whom I love to the underwear I put on in the mornings, someone and their computer knows what I'm doing and is selling that information. Luckily, I haven't been hacked too many times. But, oy, one of my credit cards is a favorite of criminals using the dark web.

Even though I'm a doddering old fart, you certainly must laugh along with me when my friends say they will "stop using Facebook because they don't want their personal information going to the wrong people." Oh, please. Your selfie is being used right now for something nefarious, and that Snapchat you thought disappeared, didn't. That ad for yoga pants didn't just pop up on the right side of your social media page randomly. Nor did that ad for lotion made specifically for darker skin hues show up on BET TV's Rap City for no reason. Advertisers spend a fortune to target audiences.

So why the big brouhaha of surprise about Facebook's advertisers targeting specific races and age groups? I can, for free, go onto my Facebook page and target market people buying a home, choosing folks who post that they are: 1. buying a home, 2. first-time buyers and 3. house hunting. Under that category I can exclude people of an "ethnic affinity" whom I don't want to advertise to (African American, Asian American, Hispanic, etc.). Would I personally eliminate ethnic types in my search for real estate clients? Hell, no—I want anyone with greenbacks in their pocket to sell or buy a home through me! My point is, unless you have successfully unplugged from the grid, everything in your life is data being mined by someone or something. Advertisers have and will always target you by income, race, marital status, career, education, hobbies and the like. And with every click you give to social media, you give more and more power to fine tune what information gets to you.