Why is social networking free?

“It’s a massive advertiser’s honeypot.

“That is, of course, why Google and Facebook and Twitter are in this business: they make money from advertising. By using their services you’re participating in a giant Faustian bargain: you get free photo hosting and the ability to yap away to your mates, but in return they get to use all that information to advertise to you. And, of course, simply by collecting the information it’s now available to regular law enforcement, the secret police, lulzsec, and other opportunistic parasites feasting off the corporation’s data reserves. And if you make it public, it’ll be scraped by credit agencies, the secret police, and everyone else who wants to build a profile of every person on the planet.

“You’ll notice that none of the social networks have subscription options. Nobody says “pay me $100/yr and I’ll keep all your data private and you can have an ad-free experience.” My hypothesis is that this is because your data is worth more to Google, Facebook, and Twitter than you can justify paying for it: they don’t want $100 from you when they can earn $500 or $1,000 targeting advertising to you as you use their sites.”

From on article by Nat Torkington on radar.oreilly.com

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