None of us are more surprised that social media works like secret spyware installed in our phones. We are there despite the discomfort of knowing that we are being followed. With every like, share and post we make on our Facebook, Insta or WhatsApp, we know that our private data is secretly being exploited and manipulated to influence our choices and opinions.
Remember how we backed off in horror watching the Netflix original series The social dilemma, which exposed the dark underside of social media and the impunity with which it intrudes into our privacy over and over again. But, yes, we returned to our virtual world with renewed vigor without worrying about being watched.
It’s a trap; we all know that.
And we signed up knowing that it is not easy to get out even if we want to. We prefer to brush under our carpet of memory how Facebook has stolen data from millions of its customers and leaked it to other tech giants like Netflix, Spotify, Apple and Amazon. We accept the voluntary suspension of disbelief even when we know the election was influenced by stolen data. But there comes a day when you know the tentacles of social media are reaching the deep pocket of your wallets and wiping out that last pretty dime. As a victim, allow me to lay it all bare and pin another badge of infamy to the bulging social media chest.
At the start of summer, I decided to spruce up my house because the merciless sun won’t allow much outdoor fun for the next five months. A sleek new sofa, a few more plants to add energy to the living room, and a fresh coat of bright paint, that was what I had in mind. Maybe rearrange the bedroom a bit, purge the cabinets and make some extra space, and rearrange the kitchen cupboard – and that was it.
I had no idea that my search online for a pristine white sofa would lead to my economic downfall. Before I knew it my Facebook and Instagram had teamed up with all the home decor and furniture merchants and started scrolling their products on my wall. The dark camel leather sofas that I secretly wished to splurge on, the Italian crystal wine glasses and Japanese teapots, the vintage floor lamps that would be perfect with my antique centerpiece, the lemon print cushions, the wall decor that I do not like to know where to hang.
The vultures of online shopping were flapping their wings and waiting to melt and tear my credit card to shreds. And they did. Even when I’m on a deadline to write a column on UAE-Austria bilateral relations, Google would display a tighter deadline with a timer showing on my screen that a particular sale ends in just two years. time. “If you want these pillow covers ACT NOW,” he will yell at me.
And I acted. And I succumbed. Although I fought hard, I lost more online battles than I won. Although I’ve never been a shopaholic like Rebecca Bloomwood who believed, âWhen I shop, the world gets better, it’s better. So that’s not the case anymore, and I have to do it again, âI became a thanks to social media and their power over my purse.