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Should social media companies be allowed to sell your data?

Advertisers are reaching younger audiences through social media networks like Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram and teens have taken to promoting themselves and the advertisements on these platforms with the hopes of receiving recognition and free products. But this self-promotion often takes an excessive amount of time and dedication on the part of the teens in return for small prizes from the advertisers.


Should Social Media Companies Pay Us For Our Data?

Facebook, Google Draw Scrutiny Over Apps That Collected Data From Teens

Additional resources to think about

I Downloaded the Information That Facebook Has on Me. Yikes.
A New York TIme's Reporter explains that Facebook has much more data than most people realize.

How Social Media Companies Profit From Data Heightens Concerns
Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, testified on Capitol Hill after a scandal called Facebook's privacy policies into question. Will Congress now call for more regulation of Internet media platforms?

Google Says It Will No Longer Read Users' Emails To Sell Targeted Ads
Google will no longer scan emails in Gmail accounts in order sell targeted advertising.

What Facebook Knows About You and How | FRONTLINE
This clip from "The Facebook Dilemma" examines what Facebook knows and how it knows it.

How Facebook Tracks Your Data | NYT
The New York Times explores how social media companies use more than just your profile to know more about you.


Who created this message?

  • What kind of “text” is it?
  • How similar or different is it to others of the same genre?
  • What are the various elements (building blocks) that make up the whole?


What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?

  • What do you notice (about the way the message is constructed)? 
  • What’s the emotional appeal?
  • What makes it seem “real?”
  • What's the emotional appeal? Persuasive devices used?

How might different people understand this message differently from me?

  • How many other interpretations could there be?
  • How could we hear about them?
  • How can you explain the different responses?

What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?

  • What type of person is the reader/watcher/listener invited to identify with?
  • What ideas or perspectives are left out?
  • How would you find what’s missing?
  • What judgments or statements are made about how we treat other people?


Why is this message being sent?

  • What's being sold in this message? What's being told? 
  • Who is served by or  benefits from the message
    – the public?
    – private interests?
    – individuals?
    – institutions?

5 Key Questions of Media Literacy used with permission from the Center for Media Literacy.
Copyright 2002-2021, Center for Media Literacy,


Should social media companies be allowed to sell your data?

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