Make Facebook and Google pay for all the data they've taken from us

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Facebook and Google have made billions of dollars off our lives.

They have collected our likes, dislikes, profiles, photos; information on where we have been online, where we have been in the real world and when; who we have called, with whom we have interacted online — they have collected pretty well every bit of data they can about us, and through third party apps they have leaked our contact lists, giving away details of people who may not even be Facebook or Google users.

Facebook has leaked our data to organisations who have interfered with the democratic process.

But mainly, they have turned all that data into money — vast amounts of money. 

On top of this, they have ducked and swerved to avoid paying full taxes on their earnings, taxes that would help fund the services we all rely on like schools and hospitals.

Many people have responded to recent revelations by deleting Facebook accounts. But there may be a better response, one whereby we reclaim what is supposed to be an open web.

How about we ask for a fair share of that profit, the profit they made off us, profit they made out of our lives and conversations with our friends. 

They could pay us in proportion to our engagement with their services, in proportion to the amount of data they have collected on each user. 

This way, these internet giants would be behaving like the communities they have always pretended to be. As stakeholders we can demand that Facebook and Google give us control of the data that sustains them, choosing what to share, what to monetise, and what to keep truly private. 

After all, as good capitalists, Google and Facebook should understand that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.