Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Beware Twitter Users: Your Tweets Help the Government Predict the Future

Published on March 1, 2016 by   ·   No Comments

Twitter-cuffs-shackles

Joshua Krause

When it comes to whatever social media platform we use on a regular basis, most of us take it for granted that these websites are spying on us in some capacity. Granted, many social media users don’t know or don’t care, but everyone else at least implicitly agrees that in exchange for using these website for free, their posts will be data mined for information that can be used to target them with ads.

However, the personal information and opinions that we put out on social media doesn’t just provide commercial opportunities for advertisers. It’s a veritable goldmine for governments as well. Everything that people used to keep to themselves in previous generations, is now willingly shouted into the Internet abyss for all to hear. Social media users often feel free to share their most controversial, subversive, and inflammatory thoughts on a platform that could reach millions of people. It’s kind of crazy when you think about it, but it’s the world we live in today.

Governments of course, love this. People say things on the Internet, that in years past would require a warrant to discover. Law enforcement would have to get permission from a judge to tap someone’s phone, or search their house for diaries and letters that would give them a damning insight into that person’s psychology and intentions. Now we just give it away for free.

Obviously, this makes it very easy for the government to identify individual threats. Somebody can talk about overthrowing the government on social media, and either they’ll be reported or some NSA algorithm will pick them up, and add their comments to a threat matrix. But social media has the potential to give the government so much more. It can also give them an insight into the collective desires of the masses.

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