Data is everywhere — in every website clicked, every share, every personality test taken online, every like, dislike. Amidst the row over the breach of user information on Facebook, The Sunday Express looks at why this data is not just yours.
In November 2008, a 22-year-old Mark Zuckerberg took the stage at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. As the audience listened in rapt attention, the young CEO, in what would go on to be his trademark round-neck T-shirt, went on a hard sell of the relatively new Facebook. “I would expect that next year, people will share twice as much information as they share this year, and next year, they will be sharing twice as much as they did the year before.” This formula for social sharing came to be called the ‘Zuckerberg Law’.
A decade on, as Facebook finds itself caught in a debate over Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm accused of using the social networking site’s user data to influence elections in the US, Zuckerberg might be hoping that his platform didn’t grow at the pace he predicted. A speed at which the company itself could not keep up with the amount of data it was generating, the number of third parties that were using this data and the kind of problems this mix was creating.
An increasing number of Facebook’s 2.2 billion users are now becoming more cautious of what they share, but the majority still live in denial. While most people, like Donald Duck in the meme that’s been doing the rounds since the Cambridge Analytica controversy, might think that “your data is as worthless as you”, the fact remains that it is an asset with immense value, especially when it forms part of a larger dataset.