Christian Fuchs, Professor of Social Media at the University of Westminster comments on the ethics of allowing corporate access to personal social media data.

Christian Fuchs, Professor of Social Media in the Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design wrote a blog post on the recent scandal between Facebook and insurance giant Admiral. 

Last week Admiral announced that, in addition to the usual methods, they would assess premium rates for new car owners on their social media posts. They argued that they were able to accurately predict driver behaviour based on online personas and could therefore offer safer drivers them lower rates. One day after the announcement, Facebook, the social media partner to this proposal, pulled out of the deal citing privacy protection as the reason.

Professor Fuchs analysed the proposal and the limits of algorithms in a blog on The Huffington Post. 

"Algorithmic analysis of behaviour and personalities installs a regime of categorical suspicion" claims Fuchs "in which everyone is first and foremost seen as a potential offender, who may break the rules and be the cause of risk."

But he argues, "algorithms do not have feelings, morals, and ethics. They do not understand jokes, sarcasm, humour, love, care, and empathy. They try to make a complex world one-dimensional.

"The trouble of big data analytics is that it approaches and assesses a contradictory world with statistical and mathematical models that are blind to the complexity and dialectics of society and human behaviour."

Read the full article on The Huffington Post.   

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