This sounds like a joke, but I prefer to think of it as a thought experiment. Imagine, if you will, that everyone in the world could read minds. Think of the changes and the effect that would have on our culture.
Oh sure, there would be some growing pains as we get used to it. The first few weeks would be terrible—every dirty secret you had, or thought you didn’t want to acknowledge, would be instantly known by everybody. It’s hard to imagine a worse fate.
…except when it happens to everyone else too. How can your boss judge you for secretly wanting to dress up like Jem and the Holograms when you know all about his illicit fantasies involving Hulk Hogan? No one would ever be able to judge another person, lest they be judged. Every single character flaw you had would be laid out for all the world to see, and no one could say a thing—because you could see every bad thing they’d ever done.
How could we ever argue? We’d instantly form a complete understanding of the other person’s point of view. How could we hurt one another? It’s impossible to imagine being cruel or hurtful someone when you feel every pain as if it were your own. We couldn’t lie, cheat, steal or murder—because everyone would instantly know what we’d done. The more you think about it, the more you realize…once you get used to it, it might just be a perfect world.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is, I don’t care what Facebook does with my privacy settings.
Now I’ll be the first to recognize that Facebook trying to profit off of my personal information without informing me is serious bad news. I disapprove whole-heartedly of this behavior. But in general, the concept of using my personal preferences in order to better market to me things I might be interested in? That doesn’t bother me in the least.
The fact is these days, it’s getting harder and harder to keep secrets. Everyone in the universe has a camera in their phone, so no matter what I do there’s a good chance it’ll wind up posted on Facebook somewhere. Even if I want to keep some illicit activity a secret, all it takes is one photo-tag and everyone I know has found me out. I can’t do anything too dastardly, even if I wanted to—because there’s no way to keep it a secret from my loved ones anymore.
Privacy is disappearing, and quickly—and I agree that this is difficult, painful, and disruptive to our lives. But if we ever really got there—I mean really got there, where privacy truly was a thing of the past, and no one could keep any secrets anymore….well, would that be so bad?