Why Big Tech Companies Pay Users For Their Data


In recent times, data is seen as one of the priceless assets available. The revenue generated from data transformation has rattled the whole idea and scheme of industrial revolution. This is why major tech companies are regarded as the richest in recent statistics. Whilenumerous establishments are recording losses, companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon andMircosoft are amassing more wealth. Doesn’t that sound alarming? What do they transact with? Just data.

Now you know why these big tech companies “seduce” you to spend more time on the internet. Most of the data we send involve our personal details ranging from what we eat, our best food and colour, our past experiences, our occupation, our core values, our educational background, where we live, our best designers, our best restaurant, our regular shopping-list and a whole lot.

Many of these tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google and a whole lot of them that we share our information with, generate a whole lot of revenue from the data we store with them. Interestingly, these data worth over $240 per year.

Barter trade is believed to be an age long system of trading which has gone on extinct. It is a concept that simply involves giving what you have to get what you need. It’s so painful that many don’t know barter trade still play out so well in recent time.

If you need a book, all you have to do is to login to Amazon, place your order and make payment. But when you send messages online, make online audio and video calls, browse through the internet or even sign up for a free ebook, cash are not demanded for all these processes, therefore, they are regarded as free. But do you know that this activities are barter trade in disguise?. Tech companies offer services of value to their users to get their valuable data; exchange without cash.

Isn’t it fair enough for users to get some cash from the billions of dollars being generated by these tech companies? Andrew Yang, former tech executive and Democratic Presidential candidate, insists that tech giants must pay people for utilizing their data.

Many tech companies no longer spend much in sending ads to their users because a whole lot of personal data has been stored which makes it very easy to send messages. Also, the personal information of many individuals are not secured any longer.

It is so glaring that the number of data supplied by each individual varies from each other but the revenue generated from its accumulation validates the fact that data yields money.

Who Gets Paid and How?

Flora is an undergraduate from a major high school in Los Angeles. She celebrated her birthday and took a whole lot of pictures with her friends and sent them on Facebook. Many of her friends reposted the pictures. The worth of the post to Facebook is the traffic generated via the likes, shares and comments generated by the post. Peradventure she is to be paid by Facebook, what is the worth of a comment? What is the rate of the data generated via people’s interest and interaction on the post? Something has to be paid to users far more than valuable service.

Jamal, a small-scale nail maker in Chinatown, created a Facebook account for himself. His lack of enthusiasm for social media makes him not to post or even add a friend to his account. From this man’s account, zero cash is generated to Facebook, therefore, he adds no value to them.

You see that user’s data is the source of the revenue generated by these tech companies. How then is the usefulness of a particular user measured? How much does each user get for a post? What about the people who share, comment and like? Do they also get a quota?

What Should Be Done?

Many users are not like the nail maker because they share their data which generates a whole lot of information for Facebook, Google and other tech Goliaths to trade with.

The billions of revenue generated by these tech companies should warrant the regulatory body in enacting laws that regulates users-data payment. Can you imagine everyone getting paid for their personal data?
In reality, if these companies were to share their profits between all their customers, each would receive a very meagre amount. For example, should Facebook decide to pay its over 2 billion users by distributing its profits in a proportional manner, each user would benefit about $9 per year.

It is very fair if every users get paid for their personal data and transactions they carry out on these platforms. Yang suggested that these companies should present customers with a choice of whether or not they want to share their data, explaining how these data would be used. Those who decide to share their personal information should be granted a portion of the revenue generated from their data.

In June of 2019, Senators Mark Warmer, D-Va., and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., presented a draft of a new law, requiring tech companies with over a hundred million users, to divulge to their customers what particulars they are collecting and how it is being utilized.

A lot of suggestions gave also been made by others. These include the use of labour unions. Ultimately, legislation will greatly aid the stimulation of this new movement.

This would not be an easy-to-adopt change but the bottom line still remains that my data is my personal property: it should therefore be used with my permission and with a promise of creating revenue for me.

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