But I just want to step back and ask... How did it get to this point in the first place? That advertising technologies have now been used as intelligence that is used for more than just psychological manipulation of the masses. It's used as an attack vector on individuals.
Sure you can make the claim "gotta keep bread on the table", but in doing so you are complicit in the murder to some degree. By your use of such technology you support a bad status quo, no matter if it's simply a more networkable option or more functionally useful option. You are complicit by supporting such a status quo, and providing power to that network.
Your software choices have moral and ethical consequences. If not on an individual level, at the very least on a systematic level. This can also be seen in the 2 choices that the "alt" political groups seem to take, when censored on mass centralised data collection mediums. They move to another mass centralised data collection medium that appeals specifically to that audience(*ahem* in what is effectively a self-masturbatory echo chamber) or move to federated choices where both censorship and network is more decentralised.
Regardless of your software choices, this rabbit hole goes deeper when we consider how thoroughly drenched in poison the current state of the modern Web is, rife with trackers, poorly sized autoplaying and bandwidth-hogging trash advertisements that pay for their existence by bribing morally and creatively bankrupt scum to abuse advertisements. No matter, it's the default financial language of the current sad state of social media probably supported by how powerful data is for targeting(as has resulted in the sad state of targeting individuals by purchasing data).
Data is a deadlier but stronger financial weapon. You own the data? You basically own easily mined statistics that can be weaponised against your users by doing psychological operations on them with targeted advertisements, and physical operations on them by injuring their way of life. It should not be treated as lightly as it currently is.
And yet developers continue to treat it lightly, in all these shit dead-end startups and dead-end companies that will go belly-up and as collateral damage the needlessly added tables of the uncaring "I just want to put bread on the table" developers.
Hell, you've already suffered collateral damage by leaked passwords, as a lot of sites ignore basic security notions such as storing salted hashes of passwords(regular hashes are unsuited due to the existence of rainbow tables).
It's an abysmal state of affairs. Naturally, I wouldn't be too surprised if anti-citizen military groups such as the NSA, CIA, GCHQ or SIS have already weaponised tools based on these mass data surveillance piggy banks. It'd be foolish not to think so, as only a decade ago, the Snowden leaks proved that the NSA and related "Glowies"(a satirical name for abbreviated security groups, originating from the schizophrenic mind of Terry Davis) were well ahead of the trend with their tools.
How far ahead of the trend are they? Well the reason the WannaCry ransomware attack is a big deal is because of the NSA hoarding a stash of zero-days that affected most Windows Operating Systems under the sun in a thoroughly devastating way.
I've rambled a bit. I doubt this is the first time data collection methods have resulted in actual death, it's part of the intelligence gathering objective that most spy agencies have-- an objective made significantly easier by the devastating commercialisation of data gathering.
I will make an assumption that you, dear reader use data-gathering software and as a result are complicit in such activities. Windows, Twitter, Discord, Faceberg and a helluva lot of trash media exists. Want alternatives? Linux, Mastodon, Rocket.chat/Qtox/Mumble/IRC. I have no alternative for Faceberg as it's utterly useless and if you use it, you should feel a deep contempt for your younger and current self for using it.
I would also say in general *ANY* social media with the capacity for like systems or similar systems should be seriously considered, as it allows for a poorly thought-out sensationalist argument with significant social indicators for which side is "winning" or "losing" defeating the very point of arguing which is as a method of contrasting and discussing ideas through a person with completely different experiences and containing different knowledges in their gray matter.
As this article holds some speculation I will leave a classy quote from the great Terry Pratchett. Just remember your hands are stained with the gore of your choices.
Some think this is paranoia, but it isn't. Paranoids only think everyone is out to get them. Wizards know it.
Written March, 10th, 2021.