Perilous Tech

Because we don't need Skynet for tech to harm us.

Netflix was on some people’s social justice radar this week. The source was the following tweet.

Netflix_Twitter

Notice also that it has 406,331 likes by the way.

A majority of the offended people fell into two separate camps and surprisingly I didn’t notice much if any who were in both.

  • Privacy Issues
  • Making Fun of People

Let’s try to add a bit of sanity and sense around these two subjects.

Privacy Issues

People were saying that this tweet disclosed privacy issues and sensitive data is laughable. Nowhere in here does it name any specifics about individuals or any information that could be used to reveal specific subscribers.

On the other hand, the number of people that seemed shocked that Netflix knows what people watch and how many times is very odd to me. I mean, they recommend shows based on your viewing history and magically they have a list called Watch It Again.

If it does surprise you then I have some horrifying news for you, Delta knows how many flights you’ve taken, Amazon knows what you ordered, and your bank knows how much money you have. Now everybody panic!

Delta knows how many flights you’ve taken, Amazon knows what you ordered, and your bank knows how much money you have.

Cancellation

The cancellation reaction I find amusing. So, you find out that Netflix has what you refer to as “big brother superpowers” yet somehow you think they can’t tell if you are bluffing when you say you are canceling? You aren’t going to stop binge-watching that new season of whatever you are watching so just stop.

Making Fun People

There was also the argument that Netflix was making fun of people. In extreme cases, I saw people call this bullying. To think that this is bullying is beyond delusional. Bullying is purposeful, specific, and individual. Nothing like that was displayed here.

I think that we have gotten out of hand on this front. When people maximize situations like this, it minimizes impact when situations are truly egregious. The mass of people become desensitized which is a very dangerous situation. Never in my life have I seen so much false equivalency being used in everyday arguments with relation to these social subjects.

Here is something to keep in mind. There is a difference between poking fun at a situation and poking fun at individual people. Corporations aren’t people, buildings aren’t people, and situations aren’t people.

In typical fashion, when I looked at the people who were offended, not a single one of them were offended themselves. They were offended by the possibility that someone else may get offended. Welcome to one of the great social problems of our time. Nobody really got offended and nobody got hurt. Simple as that.

The Attempt

Creative people need to have the ability to attempt to be creative.

Creative people need to have the ability to attempt to be creative. You may not think it’s creative and the attempt may fail, but the attempt needs to be protected. What kind of a world would we live in if people never attempted to be creative because of the constant fear of BS social backlash? I can tell you, not a good one.

People need to stop making things about things they are not. Ask yourself this question, did Netflix intentionally post this tweet to hurt people? Of course not. They did it in an attempt to be funny and entertaining, guess what, it seemed to work. At a bare minimum as of a couple of days ago 406,331 people thought so.

Look no further than the Wendy’s Twitter account and their responses for some gold.

ToS, Data Misuse, and Policy

Now I will say a couple of people made the point that this may be a ToS, data misuse, or policy violation. On this front, it could be. I didn’t read the ToS (who does?). They may have even violated some internal policy that isn’t public. But honestly, this is an entirely different topic than the previous two issues which was the focus of the outrage.

Think Before

All I ask is that people think before they get offended either themselves and especially by proxy for someone else. We don’t want to desensitize the masses; we need them on our side for the real social battles. Ask yourself, did the offending party do it to hurt anyone? If not, and the act isn’t egregious, cut them some slack. These people are hardworking people just like you.

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