Is your internet usage being tracked?

Companies tracking your digital habits is big in the news right now, but keep in mind it's nothing new. Companies tracking their user’s internet habits has been common practice since the birth of AOL and maybe even before. The debate on how ethical this is fires up every two years or so, then die's down. The knee jerk reaction is to panic but it's important to take a step back a truly see things for what they are. The initial reaction is the thought, " I don't want companies like Google tracking what I do online". Well, in short, Google, Facebook and just about every app in your phone could care less about what YOU do online and here's why; These companies track your usage for advertising reasons, meaning that your internet usage can tell them what product ads you are most likely to respond to. BUT YOUR DATA BY ITSELF IS USELESS. Google has always been transparent with the fact that they rely on segmented data, not your individual usage which makes up that segmented data. This segmented data, in part, helps companies like Facebook and Google determine what ads to show you. The reason segmented data is so valuable to them is this; you are not unique. In fact, there are endless amounts of people out there that are your age, with the same income, with the same car, that shop at the same stores, that live in the same type of house, with the same amount of children. Once you fall into a segment, companies like Google can predict what you are going to do before you do it, simply based on the fact that you are identical to the people in a specific segment, most likely made up of hundreds of thousands of other people. This allows them to know what ads you’ll most likely respond to because the majority of people in a segment you fit into did as well. The next concern always ends up being, “well, I don’t Google or Facebook showing me ads based on my personal profile”. You mean to say that you don’t want Google or Facebook showing you things they know you WANT to see?

This debate goes on and on but at the end of the day, just know you don’t need to be afraid to use the internet😊


Adam O'Brien