Code, Consumerism, & Capitalism

The two articles we read for today were jarring in that these two people had to write these articles in the first place so that something can be done about the ways in which code & algorithms that track your online presence actually does no good to people in grievances. Personally, even as someone who isn’t going through what these people have/are going through, I find these “Year in Review” videos as well as facebooks “friendship” celebration videos and “how many likes you got this year” videos to be freaky and unnecessary. It does not make me feel any warmth or remembrance while  watching these videos, but rather, I just see a collection of pictures that I am tagged in on facebook in which facebook can track and say is part of the significance of this year in review, when those moments may not be what I really recall from that year. As facebook is trying to find a way for their site to be more personable, “caring,” and “friendly,” I find it more weird and creepy that they do this by using my own information and doing something more with it, which for me comes across more as a statement that my information really isn’t my information once it’s out on facebook or anywhere as these social media companies/corporations turn me into a data and also own it.
From what I know, I believe there is still very little you can do to turn off the “Year in Review,” considering that article was written four years ago. The only apology that facebook has made about that has been to the person who wrote “Inadvertent Algorithmic Cruelty,” and the response was, “[The app] was awesome for a lot of people, but clearly in this case we brought him grief rather than joy, “It’s valuable feedback,” Gheller said. “We can do better — I’m very grateful he took the time in his grief to write the blog post.”
It was jarring that he took that article as “valuable feedback,” as though someone’s grief is more valuable data for facebook to incorporate for the well being of their company.

As we live in a capitalistic and consumeristic society, everything we do online, especially in regards to whatever we search/buy/show interest in is monitored & collected as data so that even though you may have searched for let’s say a certain pair of shoes once then it pops up as an add as you scroll through facebook or any other website. As amazing as the internet is, it is also an outlet of advertisements to feed into consumerism and constant reminders that you need this, you need that, & oh that thing you searched for you should get it. What these corporations prioritize is not the well being of people but turning any chance they can get into a possibility for profit. It is sad that despite tech companies 100% knowing that Gillian Brockwell’s child was stillborn, they do not care for that data as it does nothing for their profit. It does not serve them anything to turn off pregnancy ads as they only really care for data that can be used for consumeristic purposes. I’m not exactly sure there is a way to completely disable ads in the first place as websites use advertisements for income & people only have the option to report an ad or close it. What else can we do to make sure things like this don’t happen beyond downloading a program that doesn’t let ads run on your laptop (but then again that would also prevent you from having access to some sites?). My main question is, why are these responsibilities always put on the individual rather than corporations who cause these problems in the first place yet do nothing about them? sidenote example: people urging each other to not use straws, which is great, but my problem with that is that all the responsibilities of consumerism and the environment are put onto the individual (and yes we as individuals need to be responsible) but what are the corporations doing about this that can change the ways in which they manufacture products/preserve the environment? I feel like the sad reality of capitalism is profit is always prioritized over the wellbeing of anything.