Jim’s WebLetter for 4/14/18


Have you followed the Mark Zuckerburg trials in Washington DC this week?

I use the word “trials” as it seems Washington has labeled him a bad guy because he ran his business like he said he would … free and open, and had some things happen by hackers who put Pro-Trump, Anti-Clinton material in the form of advertising on Facebook prior to last Presidential election.

Now before I go any further with this, I have to openly wonder if we’d be going through all this if the Democrats had won the election. After all, their selection for the presidency lost a close race.

Also, it’s interesting to note that the Democrats have tried to blame the Russians and collusion with the Republican President, who won the election. And, also fair to note, now uses their old technique of smearing Republicans with “proof” of slanderous, underhanded tactics and call-girls who say they had relations prior to or during their term of office.

Oh, it was OK for President John F. Kennedy to “date” Marilyn Monroe while married and in office, and President Bill Clinton who lied about his affairs. But Donald Trump? Just awful.

So now they have found someone else to point a finger at. Someone who has already apologized and is working to fix the issues.

But I didn’t write this post this week to go political on you, just to point out that when the Web began and was made open to the public, there was a word of caution that was released with it. That word was “privacy”. Your privacy cannot be protected if you are willing to put your personal information on a platform that can be accessed by others.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google and all the other social media do one thing … they require your information in order for you to use their services. That information is stored on their servers. Their servers can be accessed by others.

Granted, they do their best to keep your information from being stolen and used by bad people to do bad things, but the social media has the same issues that Target, Equifax, and other businesses have had … people break in and steal. Others “farm” information that we make public and with a bit of work, figure out just enough to accomplish their goal and use the information for advertising, or attempts to take your money.

Or in the case with Facebook, cast your vote for a presidential candidate.

Well guess what? This is nothing new. For years, media has used ratings to determine who you are, where you live and what your likes and dislikes are to fashion commercials to get you to spend your money on their clients. Come election time, candidates spend their money to tell you on those radio and TV stations to vote for them.

The only difference is, you’ve come to expect it in the regular media. You’re still trying to wrap your head around the fact they do it on your social media.

In the words of Tom Hanks in his 2000 appearance on the Tonight Show, when asked about fearing the new millennia and all the new things expected to come with it … he said, “Get Over It”.

Facebook’s high visibility has led to Zuckerburg’s appearance in Washington. But what about others?

I am a fan of Google products. I have a Gmail address and use Drive and Photos for storage. Google Chrome, their browser, is what I use the most. I use Maps for finding my destinations and am a reporter on Maps writing about places I visit. (I am also a Trip Advisor reporter, too, but that’s for another post)

Did you know Google stores all our information too? I came across a story about them this week with links you can use to see what Google has about you. Are you interested? Then read this … http://awarenessact.com/google-has-a-massive-file-of-your-personal-information-and-heres-how-to-view-it/

As for Mark Zuckerburg … he’s not the evil genius. He’s an innovator who took an idea and ran with it, with the help of other very smart and forward thinking people. Along the way, we all have changed. We have changed from being private people to being public people.

If you don’t want to be open and public anymore, then close all your Web accounts. Close your social media accounts. Close your email accounts. Get off the grid. It can be done. Believe it or not, there is almost half a world who has yet to sign on.

Meanwhile we must deal with the eventuality that someone, somewhere may figure out how to get you to give up some of your money, or take your information to create a valuable database for someone else to purchase.

Just this week, I received an email from a friend who had an unfortunate accident in the Philippines and needed me to wire money to help pay for expenses. I decided not to help, knowing this person would never leave the comfort of her home and town for any reason. She called me later to say her email account had been hacked. I told her I suspected as much. We had a good laugh together.