Albert Qian
December 10, 2014

The Day Privacy Died

Curatti Social Media Recap #4

We’re in the final quarter of 2014, which means there are less than 90 days until the New Year and the celebration of a new year on its way. 2014 has been yet another banner year for social media, digital marketing, and the era of curation as the companies surrounding the trend make waves. In a 10 article series, we are counting down the events of the year and looking at how each of these events presents a key and critical takeaway for what matters in marketing, and more. In today’s edition we talk about the death of privacy.

It was a hot summer in 2014, with calls of yet again another global warming crisis. However, the weather wasn’t the only thing burning people up: privacy was on the docket as well.

July of 2014 saw one of the biggest debates in recent memory, the Facebook Messenger controversy. For a good month, privacy-eraseconversation brewed on and on about the ethics of having users download a separate application for their phone to use the Messenger feature of Facebook, which lets users chat with their friends live. Among the many fears were the fact that Facebook could record conversations and then use these conversations as part of an advertising push to help them make more money. Many folks — including those in my own network opted to say that they would not download the application and friends would see a delay in responses should anyone want to get in touch with them. Tech titan Robert Scoble took the debate one step further demonstrating that Messenger was far better than text messaging, since texting meant more anonymity.

4 months later, Facebook ultimately won. With half a billion users and growing, it seems to suggest that Facebook convinced everyone it was right, and privacy detractors were just another group of people trying to (legitimately) rain on their parade. And even as Facebook continues to justify the scenario as just due to the fact that most nations rely on text messages as a primary form of communication, the biggest question still reigns supreme:

What the hell happened to privacy?

Bye, Bye all of my private life, took my social network to the levy and the news feed was dry…

…good ol’ boys socializing on high, this will be the day my offline life dies, this will be the day my offline lives die…

privacy-cartoonFunny song adaptations aside, 2014 was truly the year privacy took the biggest hike that we’ve known yet. While there were numerous movements in previous years championing for the addition of privacy, the Messenger debacle opened up fresh wounds as well as advocacy towards the fact that we had hit an inflection point: There would be no going back, and in many ways than not – that should be the going thought process.

As data overtakes the way we’re sold to and begins to dominate every measure of our lives, privacy will be on its way out, unless of course we as people decide to opt out. For business owners, the rise of big data is a great thing because it means that they get to reach the customers that matter while filtering out the ones that don’t. For the consumer on the other hand, this presents a fork in the road: by staying all personal information is given away, but by leaving there will be no more ads, friends, and engaging conversations to be had. Slowly the conversation asks, “are you all in, or out”?

The Curatti Takeaway

For 2015, we believe that the privacy debate will only become louder as social networks invent new ways to reach their audience. As social networks look to innovate and continue to please their shareholders, we’ll either see a huge migration from social networks off or the keeping of the status quo. As a business owner it’s always a keen reminder to keep track of where your audience is, and adapt accordingly.


Images: Copyright: ‘‘>icetray / 123RF Stock Photo

Filed Under: Tagged With: Business and Change, Facebook, privacy, social media