Facebook makes billions of dollars off collecting your personal information and using it to target advertising. However, the users who provide that data don’t see a cent of revenue. That’s what led a team of researchers to ask a simple question of 5,000 Facebook users: what would they hypothetically want to be paid for their data?
“Websites use a combination of tactics, including different defaults, ‘nudging,’ and even obfuscation to get users to give up their data,” researcher Avner Strulov-Shlain said. “We wanted to see how users innately value their data, how the architecture of the choice presentation may affect users’ decisions, and whether some people are more susceptible to these differences than others.”
The team of researchers discovered that when given a choice, users placed hugely different values on their personal data, but they generally value the same categories of data the most. For example, data about friends and followers was worth the most, but data from posts and the “about me” section was worth the least. Researchers also discovered that younger or less educated users are more susceptible to how Facebook frames requests for data.
Of course, the social media giant isn’t about to let users cut in on its profits, but it’s still encouraging that people value the info of their friends so strongly.
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