On social media, are we worker bees or player bees?

Daniel Hertzberg for The Boston Globe

The following is an edited sample of comments readers posted online in response to “Facebook should pay you for your data” in Ideas’ big tech issue:

Why would these companies pay when so many of us are willing to do it, as you say, for free? When big tech wants the public to generate a new set of data for them, they design a fun new device designed to train us to do it. And we pay them for the privilege! More and more people have either the Apple, Amazon, or Google home assistant, which we know is already recording our passive conversation for use in improving each company’s voice recognition software and AI. It’s not inconceivable that these companies could create data-generation jobs at some point in the future, but I’d expect the pay to be on the order of what Amazon’s Mechanical Turk pays (i.e., not much). (Ajc9387) . . .

We’re only dependent upon the good graces of these private corporations because we gave them our data in the first place. They collect it in the course of providing a service, but it still belongs to us. The fact that they also store it for us is the root of all the problems. There’s a movement among a growing number of people broadly known as “decentralized Internet.” Put simply, it presumes that we each have our own separate, private, encrypted data repository, and we share from there. Sharing can be direct and private, as in a chat or voice call or video call, or many-to-many with aggregation services like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. In the former case, no middleman is needed. In the second case, the dynamic is fundamentally changed because you retain control of the data and therefore dictate its terms of use. In 3-5 years the Internet will look very much different, and a whole lot better, once decentralization takes hold. It’s not an antitrust issue, it’s a better technology issue. (quaboag) . . .

We’re gonna need a 12-click program (Fugetabutit).

Get Today in Opinion in your inbox:
Globe Opinion's must-reads, delivered to you every Sunday-Friday.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here