Facebook has played a crucial role in connecting individuals around the world to the web — particularly by expanding internet access in low-income countries. Of course, this has given these developing nations a boost. But as a column in Forbes pointed out this week, the social media giant likely has a less charitable ulterior motive.
According to Facebook’s annual Inclusive Internet Index, published this week, the company wants to ensure the remaining 3.5 billion people in the world without internet access become connected. That means more engaged users — and more access to their data for Facebook.
“With more people on Facebook, the social network gets to tap into a much greater pool of personal data, making its algorithms much more predictive of how we’ll respond to ads, and of how we’re likely to behave,” tech journalist Simon Chandler wrote. “So yes, greater global connectivity seems like a good thing, but it’s worth asking which organizations are driving the internet’s expansion. Because these organizations may not always have our best interests at heart.”
Indeed, as long as Facebook’s business model relies on gathering our personal data, it will be difficult to ever fully believe that it’s looking out for our privacy and security.
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