Opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of MRD.
The revelations of Facebook having provided data to a 3-party without users' consent has brought much due attention, again, to the matter of... what the hell are these companies doing?!!!
Firstly, let's get this out of the way. Many refer to Google, Facebook, as technology companies. When in fact, the are advertising companies who use/develop technology. They make money from advertising, not technology.
Let's now survey Internet advertising and see what's currently happening.
Internet companies with hyper-scale user-bases are sucking up as much data about those users, sometimes without express consent, so as to target advertisements to them which are paid by entities selling something.
Online advertising is rot with fraud whereby companies pay for their brands to reach eyeballs via online ad exchanges, receive reports of the numbers of eyeballs having seen the those costly ads, and yet actually it's it's not possible to know because human and bot attention can't be proven distinguishable. And ad providers, platforms, etc. have incentive to use such attention bots.
There's "ad wars". This nonsense amounts to recursive blocking of ads, ad-blockers, ad-blocking blockers, ad-blocking-blocker blockers, etc. ad infinitum (pun intended).
Then there's malvertising. Yeah, that's a thing, whereby ad platforms are used as vectors for malware (e.g. ransomware, etc.).
And very sadly just yesterday, there was the incident at Youtube's headquarters involving shootings. Which it now appears to have been aggravated by... advertising.
One struggles to find anything good about any of this. Except perhaps those Internet, ahem, advertising companies with hyper-scale user-bases. The negative aspects of it all for society now seemingly outweigh it's benefits. Perhaps we need not online advertising anymore anyway; maybe never did? With "Web 3.0" technologies maturing, this might finally be realized.