I thought I’d write a few lines about an article I read on Saturday about how Facebook avoids UK taxes, by shuffling money around in the usual way (like Starbucks, which will apparently pay no corporation tax at all in the UK for the next 3 years). But when I searched for the article on Google (yes, I know), I was invited to access it via – guess what? – my Facebook account, and warned that this would mean sharing information about myself.
I begin to wonder why I have anything to do with this outfit, let alone voluntarily provide it with information about myself, my views, my contacts, my choices, that it can use to make money, and others can use for whatever purpose they like.
I’ve been thinking lately about flashback scenes in movies and stories (see here and here), when characters look back to the early days, when they saw the signs, but paid no heed. I was put in mind of them by news about climate change (which I still think will come to eclipse every other question). But one can easily envisage another movie, in which characters look back wonderingly at the days when they first voluntarily surrendered their privacy to huge international organisations over which they had almost no control.
Maybe it would be a good thing if the whole phenomenon really were to fade away like bubonic plague, as some have suggested it may? And perhaps it would be a good thing too, if we were to stop falling for things that are supposedly ‘free’ but which we actually pay for with our souls?