Users sign away privacy

Many people don't read the terms and conditions before they post and don't realize what rights they are giving up.

Creative Commons Photo Courtesy of Wesley Fryer

Many people don't read the terms and conditions before they post and don't realize what rights they are giving up.

Meredith Prud'homme

By agreeing to the terms and conditions, millions of social media users sign away the rights to their favorite family photo or their morning latte snapshot.

In 2019, privacy stands as a figment of the imagination. Companies want to know a potential buyer’s every move, turning social media from a place for people to share content to a place for big-name companies to consume it.

The law serves to protect individual works of property, according to the U.S. Copyright Office. But, that does not mean that a user can control how Instagram, Twitter or any platform, uses their videos and photos. By clicking “accept” to Instagram’s terms and conditions, for instance, users release not only their usernames, passwords and camera roll, but also iMessage history, geographical location and facial recognition data, according to

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, said in a hearing this past year that his company does “not sell data to advertisers.” However, Facebook uses people’s information that is provided in their bio or search history. This data includes things like age, gender, and the user’s interests, in order to target ads to a certain audience. Facebook might not directly sell a user’s data to outside parties, but it does make money from sharing your information with companies, according to CNN.

Sophomore Francesca McCaffrey of West Long Branch said she believes that sharing information is not an issue for internet users.

“I do think my information could be tracked easily because of how advanced technology is,” McCaffrey said. “I don’t think that we should share all of our information online, but I don’t think it’s an issue if we share some.”

Social media is essential for many in making new friends, keeping tabs on old ones and effectively advertising businesses. Facebook reacts to supply and demand of its users, as they now would rather view than post, contriving a formula to make money by giving personal information that users signed away, to make a profit. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have grown to become the gradual replacement for the mixed-bag of advertisements on TV and radio. Social media knows any user’s every want and desire, making privacy a thing of the past.