All Apps are bad: ‘scarenomic’ may be just as harmful as privacy scourging

Can the media tackle any important issue without resorting to hyperboles?

The WSJ piece on Selling You on Facebook, makes an interesting read on privacy issues for the non-initiated, clearly their main target audience. I was going to agree with it wholesale until I realised that the article sweeps too large and makes every app look bad – I mean mobile apps, not Facebook apps which clearly are something else in my opinion.

Yes, it’s true that the general public doesn’t realise the privacy implications of social media. Yes, it’s true that some apps and some companies are abusing the trust implicitly placed in them and taking more than they should. But I disagree with the way the WSJ article seems to be pointing to every app out there, the notion of app itself. That’s not a realistic ways of painting the true picture of what is going on. If that were to be allowed, then you could say the same thing of every human creation that may possibly be put to bad uses. The list would be long, folks wouldn’t feel safe anywhere or at any moment.

I agree that people need to be educated on the privacy issues surrounding social media in general. I disagree with trying to scare people into, perhaps, reading your article. If you try to scare people about every possible thing that could go wrong, then you blur your message and may defeat its purpose. What really helps is giving people self-help clues on what may be happening, and the implications of the specific actions they may be taking online. This should be measured, paced and kept up-to-date. But not a broad sweep because then people are no better off than when they weren’t told anything at all.

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