The act of releasing user data by Spotify through their “Wrap” marketing campaign marks an egregious confession of the appalling scheme media companies, and perhaps technology companies as a whole, have been perpetuating for the entirety of its existence. By unveiling the extent of user data collected and hinting at the advanced analysis taking place of said data, Spotify has created what the McDonalds’ Social Media Director calls “a masterclass on fan advocacy” for its own service and normalized the conduct of data collection.
The modern trend of technology companies collecting vast amounts of user data is nothing new but unprecedented in history. The treatment of users as products to be sold to marketing companies is a horrendous offense and ought to be viewed as individualized espionage committed by a coordinated collusion of technology companies with the sole purpose of sapping billions of dollars from customers. In doing so, media companies such as Spotify have purposely or inadvertently drained countless brilliant minds from the workforce who could have contributed to more legitimate industries and consumed the priceless time and attention of millions who, perhaps unbeknownst to them, were being manipulated as mere pawns for the sole benefit of the corporations.
In normal industries, such as the automobile or retail industry, the people are the customers and therefore hold the ultimate position of influence for companies. However, for media companies and subsidiaries such as Google and Facebook, the people are not the customers but the value proposition the companies offer to corporate customers. In this sense, the media companies have turned users into livestock on a farm, doing everything in their power to extract the most data from the nearly limitless resource.
The issue with widespread data collection lies not with hacking, the prevention of which is in the best interest of the company, but with morality. Although data hacking by malicious actors is a valid concern for many users, it is inevitable and comes with almost any other industry. To shut down a social media company for fear of data breaches could be comparable to shutting down a grocery store for fear of theft; the prospect is a possibility but trivial compared with larger problems. The introduction of media companies to the technological world has not only curbed the fast-paced advancement the industry regularly experiences but also turned the promising enterprise onto a darker path. The big technology companies of yesterday were creating new and revolutionary gadgets to ease daily life. Today's big technology companies are exploiting their monopoly on information and conducting massive spying campaigns on users around the globe to sell data to dishonest advertisers seeking to gain influence upon the populace.
Although any widespread movement against media companies will imminently be quashed by the media companies’ desires to preserve themselves, it is still necessary for the people to realize the scandalous atrocities committed against them. Regardless of plausibility, media companies, one by one, must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for breaching the norms of privacy that have held society together since the beginning of sentient history.