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Should We Be Paid For Our Data?


Data is arguably the most valuable resource in the world. Every website you visit, every app you download, every call you make is recorded, analyzed, and stored for future use. That information about your identity, travel, shopping habits, friends and even political affiliations is held on servers and picked over to target you with ads.


As valuable as this data is, you receive no payment whatsoever. Should this change?


Once a Presidential hopeful, Andrew Yang was known for his desire to implement a universal basic income (UBI) where every American would receive a monthly stipend from the government. Yang has stayed active on the political scene by commenting and offering his opinion on many issues. Though we disagree with most of what he says, Yang did make us think twice with a recent Tweet:


Yang called out Facebook, a company worth $650 billion dollars, for not sharing more of that worth with the people who create its value - users. We have to say, this is an idea we can get with. Considering that users have very little control over how their data is used or who it is sold to, one way to rectify the intrusion on private rights would be to force Facebook to issue some form of payment, like a commission, on every sale of their data.


If you think about it, every Facebook user should be viewed as a share holder in the company. If we are not going to be paid a wage for the capital we provide, then payment should come in the form of stock options or company assets - compensation for the sale of our data. This is how many CEO's are paid: they receive stock options which can be cashed in based on the value they create. We should receive the same since we users are the ones that provide the goods (data) that is creating Facebooks worth.


We think that every social media site should be forced to deliver some of their earnings to users. If not, companies should be held accountable for data breaches, and be more transparent in how they use our private information.