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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Evil social networks - Charlie's Diary

"If you're not paying for the product, you are the product."

In the past I've fulminated about various social networking systems. The basic gist is this: the utility of a social network to any given user is proportional to the number of users it has. So all social networks are designed to tweak that part of the primate brain that gets a dopamine reward from social activity — we are, after all, social animals. But providing a service to millions of customers is expensive, and your typical internet user is a cheapskate who has become accustomed to free services. So most social networks don't charge their users; they are funded indirectly, which means they've got to sell something, and what they've got to sell is data about your internet usage habits, which is of interest to advertisers.

Evil social networks - Charlie's Diary

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