The saying, which has evolved over time, goes something like this – if you are not paying for it, you are not the customer. You are the product.
In just over a decade, mega-platforms like Google, YouTube (owned by Google), and Facebook have conditioned us to pay for their software without money. Instead, we pay with our attention, personal behavior monitoring, and even our creative content. For the “privilege” of using these platforms, we agree to let them track our every keystroke and mouse click, selling it to the highest corporate advertising or special interest bidder. Of course, you really can’t get something for nothing.
We all know it’s a lousy setup. Given the choice, no one would volunteer to hand over control of their own privacy or creative content. And, yet, we do it every day. Why? Because there seem to be no good alternatives. What else would we use?