You may not realize it, but every time you access the Internet, you are being watched. As you navigate through web pages, conduct Google searches and creep on classmates’ Facebook walls, your activity is being logged. But why? Because the data is extremely valuable for advertisers.
A few weeks ago, I searched for a particular iPad case I’ve been looking into purchasing. In a separate window, I had Pandora Radio open. Anyone familiar with Pandora knows that a large advertisement sidebar changes randomly.
Minutes after searching for the Zaggmate iPad case, I navigated back to Pandora to skip to the next song only to find that my advertisement was now for the exact same iPad case I’d been searching for.
According to Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, privacy is a thing of the past. Internet users already disclose tons of personal information, but now it’s gone a step further. Their interests are being used as an extravagant tool for advertising.
“It is the intention of social media sites to collect data about their users and determine their online preferences. That’s how they develop new social media channels and tactics,” said Lauren Dorsch, a 2010 graduate of Seton Hill University (SHU) who now works for a multibillion-dollar corporation in the Pittsburgh region.
Social media tools are more than just an outlet for students and adults to share their lives with friends. “[Facebook and Twitter] can be used to enhance, protect and enable the brand of a company and create brand awareness in ways that traditional advertising cannot,” said Dorsch, who uses social media from a professional standpoint as well as for personal reasons.
Since many companies and corporations are jumping on the social media bandwagon, there is major cause for concern because social media networks, especially Facebook, do more than just track your wanderings.
When a user logs onto Facebook from any electronic device, mobile or otherwise, he or she unknowingly gives Facebook access to not only history and cookies but the device’s IP address as well, which tells Facebook where you are, whether you “check in” or not.
Remember: Facebook holds no responsibility for companies or corporations who use its platform.
Don’t be a stranger to Internet privacy. Use these helpful tips to fight back. Remember, whatever you post online is there to say. There’s no “delete” button that will permanently remove information you post.
Protect your privacy
- Delete your cookies and history weekly.
- Avoid clicking on side advertisements when browsing on the Internet.
- Don’t give your information to any company who suggest they might sell your information to others.
- Use a psuedo-last name or even your middle name on Facebook and other social media networks rather than your real last name.
- Create a “fun” email account for your social media networks so your “professional” account doesn’t get overrun or compromised.
- Only “friend” people you actually know.