Twitter is highly important to my professional brand, thus I chose to use the platform as my case analysis.
Democracy and capitalism are not as linked as mainstream American society thinks. U.S. law defends the rights of corporations, however, it does not hold them to a higher standard of behavior as in Europe, for example. We must remember that, as Kovacs mentioned, companies are concerned with profit margins, and until laws are made or their profits fall due to public concern over privacy issues, they have a vested interest in continuing to exploit this loophole.
I also agree with Kovacs that data mining is not done with fully malicious intent. Understanding users better allows governing algorithms to better serve them, suggesting better books or movies so that they can optimize what services users receive. Twitter’s policy openly states this in “Twitter for Wed Data” (para. 15), and most interestingly makes those results available to profile owners.
While Taddicken explored the “privacy paradox,” I think it’s important to consider that people rarely have a large social scope when looking at themselves; we think “x” horrible thing happens to others, not ourselves. Thus, we are disinclined to really consider our own security on platforms with hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people because the statistical likelihood seems small, even though everything about digital privacy tells us it isn’t. I use a plurality of platforms professionally, and, in line with Taddicken’s findings, I share personal info less. I feel comfortable with what online “stalkers” know about me.
I disagree with Fuchs on applying socialistic political economy to analyze a capitalistic system. Under social concerns of wealth distribution, privacy protection vs. invasion is an issue colored by wealthy corporations exploiting lower-income users (i.e. privacy fetishism). However, this does not consider services received. Users pay for the service of Facebook or Twitter’s software, not with money but with information; if users didn’t receive anything, per Uses and Gratifications theory, they would not be using the platforms. Therefore, in such a digital transaction, both users and providers receive service or compensation that they deem to be fair, if not a bargain. Until users see such transactions as not fair, again per Kovacs, this transaction is the personification of capitalism, i.e. what the American system is built around.
Democracy affords us rights, including the right to give away our rights. As Twitter states in clear and simplistic terms, usage of the platform signifies agreement with the terms of service; don’t academic syllabi work the same way? If you stay in a class you agree to the rules. We all know students don’t read syllabi, but they are held accountable to it this contract regardless. As long as users “spend their votes” as is, they have little cause to say they have been duped or violated when user policies such as Twitter openly states that usage of the platform is consent for the usage of private information as the company sees fit (para. 2).