The Hazard’s Of Our Bold New (Online) World. Danger around targeted marketing on the internet.
The internet is among mankind’s most brilliant innovations. In fact, it’s probably the single greatest. Just as our ability to control fire or grow crops led to change after radical change the world wide web has revolutionized the world. However, you can’t really distrust farming or fire. You can definitely distrust the internet it turns out. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how dangerous the internet really is and create a code of ethics for marketers who want to use the internet’s treasure trove of information.
There’s quite a bit of amazing things on the internet, so many amazing things in fact that according to a digitalinformationworld.com article (link will be below) nowadays the average person worldwide spends about 142 minutes a day on the internet. However, if you’re between the age of 16 and 24, then its closer to 181 minutes. All of these people, and all of this time on the internet you eventually have to ask, who oversees all of this? Are they watching me? How much do they know about me? The answers plainly put are as follows: governments and billion-dollar corporations, yes they are watching you, and they know a lot about you.
Depending on who you ask, how dangerous the current state of data mining and data collecting is on the internet can get a large array of responses. However, the overwhelming response is, no, the internet doesn’t protect my privacy very well. In another Digitalinformationworld.com article, only 7.5% of 5000 people surveyed said that they haven’t changed the way they use the internet since last year. That means in just 365 days over 90% of people have, partially due to the data breaches and online hacking sprees that seem to be happing more and more frequently these days. The most recent and troubling of these was, of course, the Cambridge Analytica case which revealed that 80 MILLION facebook users data was being sold off to third party websites and companies, such a big breach that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg found himself in a trial on capital hill in front of the entire US Senate. So not only is it clear that people don’t trust the internet, but it has also become increasingly clear that there will be punishments if people’s suspicions are confirmed.
On a 1 to five scale with 5 being “highly dangerous” and 1 being “not dangerous at all”, I’d say this is right in the middle at a 3. While there are definite issues, such as the Facebook scandal there is enough social awareness and people willing to make a change that crises on that level can be avoided in the future. With millennials being one of the generations with the most distrust of the internet coming into positions of power I truly think that while the internet is far too relaxed on regulations at the moment we will soon be going in the right direction.
Now as promised here is a list of about 10 ethical bullet points that you shouldn’t break. And if you do break them? Well, you might be the next CEO on top of capitol hill testifying in front of the senate.
- Just be a decent person. I know this sounds stupidly simple but lots of times when you see somebody folding under the pressure of trial on tv or twitter you sometimes ask yourself “how could they ever have done this?”. The answers while complicated on a case by case basis often boil down to, they lost sight of what was important in life.
- Just ask them. The straightforward approach has been thrown to the wayside in recent years and it really has begun to show with how many people are getting in trouble for selling data to third party companies.
- Don’t rely on fine text. If all of your questions about allowing data to be distributed are in the fine text, that is generally a good sign that you’re hiding something. It’s almost 2020, you should know by now that hiding things from people will only work for so long and the consequences will probably just keep getting worse.
- Tell people what you want from them. If you’re straight up with people you might not get as many people saying yes they’re willing to share but those who are will be able to give you much more accurate data. Remember, most times the age-old saying, “quality over quantity” holds true.
- Look around and see what others are doing. Sometimes it’s good to be the first to do something, it can put you on the cutting edge of a brand new field and set you up for unrivaled dominance. Other times It’s going to get you in a lot of trouble. The EU has what I predict will end up as the baseline for data collecting guidelines already mostly in place. If your ideas seem wildly out of place next to theirs, might be best to rethink it.
- Ask around and see what people think. Focus groups are one of the most tried and true methods of getting people’s thoughts on things. You can even use employees if you’re working with ideas that you don’t want to know about yet. Just get a random anonymous sample of your employees and see what they think.
- Imagine if your “secret” got out. If your company was the one that was hacked and your new method of collecting data was released, would people be upset? Think of a few of your more “anti-technology” relatives you have, how would they react if they found out?
- Remember there’s more to life than money. Facebook made over $11 billion on ad revenue in 2018, Mark Zuckerberg has a net worth of almost $70 billion dollars. Yet he just kept pushing for newer and newer ways to get money from people and just like all people who get too greedy, he got caught. Pair this last point with #1 on the list, just really sit back and think “Why am I doing this?” If the answer is for money or some reason that doesn’t rank too highly on a scale of niceness, probably hit the drawing board again.
Here’s the two articles mentioned in the text: