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Has privacy become a thing of the past?

In the times of covered webcams and hidden Instagram profiles, privacy is a thing everyone is concerned about, and with good reason. However, there is a more important question we need to ask ourselves: is privacy really possible today? Conor Van Santen, from Saint Louis University, thinks it is not.
As much as being social is natural for human beings, so is the need for privacy. We all have the need to keep some things to ourselves and not disclose all our details to everyone. However, what we thought to be our most personal things may not be so personal anymore. For instance, it has become a piece of common knowledge that our Google searches are now recorded to show us advertisements that are related to them. Sponsored products become a source of income for many internet platforms. YouTube sustains on advertisements played before videos. However, Santen sees a more looming danger in the dark.
Such a high influence does social media and internet have on our lives that something as small as a newsfeed is found to impact our emotions. This is a terrifying discovery for it now means that someone sitting miles away can decide our moods. A 2012 research published by The Atlantic shows staggering results about this. A study of about 700,000 Facebook users showed that people who saw positive posts in their feed had an overall more positive mood while the ones with a negative news feed had negative ones.
Such a scary discovery will leave any user of social media rethink about their habits. As the lines between the virtual and the real start to blur, there is a question that we need to ask ourselves: isn’t the leash still in our hands? Aren’t we the ones giving them the power to invade our privacy?
N Malavika Mohan