Two falses do not make a right

moron (image taken from

moron (image taken from

If a woman is raped, do you feel it’s her fault because she was dressed sexy and flirting a bit? If a tourist gets mugged on the streets of New York, would you agree that it’s his own fault because he shouldn’t be carrying an expensive camera around? If a person gets ripped off on eBay do you feel it’s his fault because he should know that people can’t be trusted?

According to a post by SiliconAngle, responding to a Forbes post,  this type of reasoning justifies that companies use uploaded photos from social networks in advertisement, without the user knowing. It’s all the fault of the user, he or she should know better. Uploading and sharing personal info on the web is dangerous, and we shouldn’t be surprised that the data might get (mis-)used commercially.

The author doesn’t agree to these practices, but does point to the user first. It ‘seems’ the user’s responsibility fault.


People do not share information about themselves because they want to be commercially exploited. Sure there are lots of social media ‘fanatics’ that share as much as possible about themselves and are always looking to be in the spotlight. And yes, people do stupid things. And they are incredibly naive. All of that is true, but that doesn’t make this practice right!

‘The responsibility for your online privacy lies with you’. It’s a dream waiting to happen. We can only be responsible if we actually have any control over our privacy. We can decide not to join Facebook, but we can’t force others not to publish anything about us. We can turn on every privacy switch there is on Facebook, but where is the privacy switch that protects us from Facebook itself? We can carefully select our friends in social networks and then never realize that our data is exploited commercially. The truth is, social interaction and sponsoring that interaction with advertisement is simply a bad idea leading to bad commercial practices.

It’s true. People need to be careful about sharing personal information on the web. Once it is published it will never go away. So there is a clear responsibility for a user to think about what he wants to share online and what not. But there also lies a responsibility for the networks that stimulate sharing. There is a responsibility for those that exploit our data, our interactions commercially. And companies that exploit our data, our photos, our interactions without specific consent or knowledge of the user are simply evil.

Nice try with this post SiliconAngle. But two falses do not make a right. It just makes it more wrong.

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This entry was posted in on-line advertisement, privacy, sharing, social networks, SocialAds and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Two falses do not make a right

  1. I think the point Art was trying to make is that the chances of this happening to you are greatly reduced when you don’t participate in the types of behavior he described.

    I’m willing to bet that the individuals’ pictures that were used were posted and uploaded to their own profiles, not captured unwittingly by a friend and then taken.

  2. @Mark, I understand this. But the fact that people behave in a certain way doesn’t put all the responsibility there. I’m missing nuance. People do stupid things on the web (often naive). But that doesn’t give anyone else the right to misuse that naiveness. Two wrongs (should have written that 😉 ) don’t make the end result right.

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