September 18, 2017

The numbers of ads on Facebook and Google need to be limited, and those clicking these should also be paid something.

Sir, Rana Foroohar, with respect to those services we supposedly receive free from Goggle, Facebook and similar for free, correctly writes “free is not free when you consider that we are not paying for these services in dollars, but in data, including everything from our credit card numbers to shopping records, to political choices and medical histories. How valuable is that personal data?” "Big tech makes vast gains at our expense", September 18

Indeed, more than 10 years ago I wrote you a letter in which I said: “Clearly a search engine should mostly be valued in terms of the services it offers to the searchers but in this case it is actually the searchers that become the searched and this leads to some very strange signalling effects”.

And since then I have been all over the web promoting among others the possibility that we should be able to get an intellectual property right over our own preferences, in order to have sometRhing to negotiate with… and then on how we could enter into agreements with ad-blockers that could help us exploit those IPRs.

But lately what has also come to concern me, is how our very limited attention span is being overexploited, leaving us too little time for reflection on our own realities.

Would it not be great if Google or Facebook, or any such similar social media service we get hooked on, and which has over a million members, could only send each member ten adds per day, and that these would receive 50% of any ad revenues collected as a result of having clicked on the ad?

Under no circumstances should we humans allow the marginal cost of bothering us to be zero.

I believe that could benefit all parties involved. Even Google, Facebook and alike would be less harassed by the besserwisser. Don’t you think so Sir?