The phrase – ‘If you are not paying, you are the product!!’ – puts people off free and open source software.


As people become increasingly aware of the privacy implications of 'free' services like Google and Facebook, its common to see people repeat phrases like 'If you are not paying, you are the product!!'.

The problem with this statement is that

  • it doesn't differentiate between 'free' as in beer and 'free' as in 'freedom'
  • it assumes that paying for something is any kind of guarantee of privacy

Example – I was explaining to a colleague that I use Linux Mint on both my Macbook Pro and Desktop PC – his reaction was 'well you know if its free that means they are selling your data!'

Example 2 – some redditor was claiming that he was happier using some software which he literally knew was serving him adware and had hjacked his browser because he thought that made it more trustworthy as he knew how they were making money, over an open source alternative.

This is why I think the 'you are the product' phrase is damaging to FOSS.

Has anyone experienced this and whats the best response?

submitted by /u/PutYourShoesOnNow
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