In a world where our personal and private data is becoming more open and accessible, the monetisation of our digital footprint by some of the world’s biggest online companies has lead to a huge lack of privacy. However, is this the tradeoff for clarity online?
“Your online identity is the sum of your characteristics & interactions.” This is the definition given by ‘Internet Society.’ Who explain that the partial identity you portray is different for each website you interact with. These interactions are curated, building up your online identity.
Below I have explained my own experiences regarding multiple identities: [CLICK TO VIEW]
Many, such as Christopher Poole do not see this as a problem, claiming that ‘individuals are multifaceted and identity is prismatic.’ Therefore, portraying yourself different, depending on where you are online is completely normal and acceptable.
However, there is a thin line between having a partial identity and fake persona, and it is often very easy for users to fall on the wrong side of this line. With 5 new Facebook profiles being created every second it has become increasingly probable that we will come into direct contact with fake profiles online. This creates huge issues regarding the authenticity of our online experience.
In addition, we are currently in a time where many social media companies such as Facebook and Google make the majority of their income through selling our personal information to third parties and advertising based on this personal data. Bernard Harcourt explains this, and describes the way companies ‘want to know everything about you’ for their monetary gain. This view is shared by Tim Cook, Apples CEO.
Harcourt claims that ‘privacy has been privatised,’ further pressing his point that, by creating a more realistic and true profile, we are only giving these platforms more information about ourselves, thus giving them more to sell for their own gain. This begs the question: are we willing to create a more personal online experience at the expense of our privacy?
Online Identity – An Overview (2016). Internet Society. Available at: http://www.internetsociety.org/online-identity-overview
Krotoski, A. (2012). Is online authenticity or anonymity more important?. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/19/online-identity-authenticity-anonymity
The Top 20 Facebook Statistics. (2016). Zephoria. Available at: https://zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/
Apple Boss Tim Cook Slams Google and Facebook for Selling Users’ Data. (2015). The Independent. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/apple-boss-tim-cook-slams-google-and-facebook-for-selling-their-users-data-10295158.html
Columbia Law Professor Argues That ‘Privacy has Been Privatised.’ (2016). Business Insider UK. Available at: http://uk.businessinsider.com/facebook-google-information-nsa-iphone-android-data-personal-2016-2