Jacob mutisi ICT Expert
Social media companies are making money from your data and information.
It’s now time to ask for a slice of the cake.
Sell, trade or steal the data, it is yours.
Social media companies should pay us.
Do you know that your digital footprint is the next digital currency? Digital currencies are currencies that are only accessible through computers or mobile phones because they only exist in electronic form.
Everyday the average person accesses their social media platforms to communicate with their friends and family while rarely considering what information these companies are collecting about them.
One major player is Meta, previously called Facebook. This is a company that owns Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook.
To say Meta is a popular social media service provider is certainly downplaying all that it truly is.
Meta is a global corporation offering advertising and business products.
If you are a Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp user you know the price is just perfect, it’s FREE.
You get these digital forums where you interact with your friends and acquaintances sharing photos, latest news, gossip and videos.
If these social media platforms are free how is it possible that Mark Zuckerberg is worth US$118 billion?
These social media platforms make money for Meta through advertising.
Meta owns your data through the free social media services that it provides to you, and is able to monetise that data spectacularly.
Covid-19 and the commodification of the internet in the 2020s brought Zimbabwe into the digital age and has changed the way consumers interact with commercial enterprises.
The digital industry companies have one thing in common, they use your personal data through technology to gain competitive advantage.
In traditional currency transactions people exchange cash for goods and services of equal value.
But in the data world, the trading of currency is one-sided, at least today. Generators of data, who are the users get practically nothing.
Their data is captured and used to sell them more things in a targeted manner.
An ordinary Zimbabwean is known for one thing; they are known for protecting their money.
When I was a child growing up in Lochnivar, I pulled some cash out of my pocket at Southerton shopping centre to count.
My mother gave me a stern look and advised me, “Never count your money in public.”
It is a well known fact that money is valuable, and we know there are bad people that want to get their hands on it.
As such, we have to be careful with it. This also applies to our personal information.
Not all of it should be in the public domain due to the level and the magnitude that these social media companies are using it.
The time has come where the user should start demanding payments for the use of their data.
The value of things like money or currency is determined essentially by the demand for it.
Basically the question you should ask yourself is, how often is your data bought, sold, traded or even stolen? Not a day goes by in which our data is not bought, sold, traded or even stolen.
Yet we willfully give our data away by posting way too much online without a second thought.
We blindly click on terms and conditions of free apps without considering what it might mean to our data.
No one gives you a FREE service.
These service providers have identified that the strength of any organisation is in the accurate data that they have on individuals.
The time has come for you and me to be paid for the data that we provide on the cyber space because social media service providers are making a killing out of it.
If you are not paying for the product/service then you are the product/service.
- Mutisi is the CEO of Hansole Investments (Pvt) Ltd and the current chairperson of Zimbabwe Information & Communication Technology, a division of Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers.