Would you pay $10 per month to use Facebook or Instagram or Twitter?
How about $5? Most people are shaking their heads.
We want the service, but we prefer not to part with our money. No business can survive without an income stream. Since we don’t want to pay for the service, then an ad-revenue model is deployed. And yet in 2019, some are genuinely surprised when they discover that websites track their every click and make that information available to advertisers.
How do advertisers get our data?
Our likes and habits can be collected passively by tracking user’s clicks and online activities via cookies. These habits can also be collected in an active way where we hand over bits of information in a survey or when we enter competitions. These methods are common in the gambling arena, such as when PartyCasino hold competitions where players could win trips to Ibiza, Las Vegas, and Germany in exchange for proving some basic information.
Social Media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter run services where businesses are able to target their potential customers with pinpoint accuracy without handing their users’ information over to the advertiser.
This is important to note. There is a false perception that the advertiser is handed some electronic document with your personal contact information so that is how they target your with their ads. This is not true. Ads are matched to anonymous personas that match their target audience.
How is data stored and secured?
In the past, businesses stored data using programs such as Microsoft Excel, however as more and more data is collected in larger volumes, databases are used. The Data Protection Act and General Data Protection Regulation are also in place to protect both the individual and the business where data gathering and storage is concerned.
Individuals retain the right to know what information a company is holding about them, be it personal data such as an address, date of birth or a name, or an opinion on a product, service or experience. By complying with these regulations, it allows a business to negate any bad, inaccurate or out of date data, benefitting them in the long run.
Is your device listening to you?
Since the proliferation of voice-activated devices such as Google Home and Alexa, there has been the fear that our conversations are being monitored. This myth has been circulating since we started carrying cell phones.
The reality is that our devices aren’t listening so brands can serve us ads. The processing power and bandwidth it would require to process all this data is simply unrealistic. Besides, why go through the trouble of voice recognition when we simply hand over our web-clicking-traffic for free?
So In Summary:
Data is a valuable commodity which can be abused if not guarded correctly. Using services like a VPN can help to ensure that our online data is encrypted and we can minimize our digital footprint by being more vigilant on who can access our social media profiles.
Until we are willing to pay for social media, we need to recognize that their business generates revenue based on ads and that the brands rely on our digital footprint in order to serve us the right ads. Since you will be getting ads anyways, wouldn’t you prefer ads relevant ads that you might actually want? I would.