A confusion about how people sell this internet data

An interesting little case of how a subject is framed swaying public opinion and action upon that very subject. The new GDPR regulations, those about who has what digital data about us and what they may do with it.

The public cry is that "they're selling our data" - even that data is the new oil and it should all be taxed most heavily. When that's not really what is in fact happening at Facebook, Google and the like. What they are doing is much more akin to the standard media pack of the legacy media.

If you decide that you might like to advertise in, say, the Telegraph, or Mirror, then you'll ask to see the demographics of their audience. You can then decide whether you'd prefer to advertise to broadsheet readers or tabloid, those leaning right or left, the different age cohorts that read each and so on. You are given as much data as they have on who their audience is.

Facebook, Google and so on do much the same thing. Instead of saying here's our audience though they ask, well, which portion of our audience would you like to advertise to? The data on offer is how would you like to slice and dice that audience we've got available?

The sale is of the advertising, the sale is not of the data itself. The data is to inform the sale of the advertising in much the same manner as that standard media pack. It's just a more fine grained set of distinctions.

To our mind this makes the basic cry, that they're selling our data, incorrect. Incorrect to such an extent that it's deliberately misleading - you know, a propagandistic lie?

But then that's politics isn't it? Finding a justification for what you'd like to do anyway rather than trying to solve any real world problem.