How Microtargeting is Infringing on Your Privacy

Have you ever paused to wonder how some information and ads that are sent to you get to hit the nerves? The IoT has made it possible to use your demographic, psychographic, and other data to make up your predictive analytics all in the aim to get ads that are microtargeting you.

Inasmuch as this may seem not to be harmful, the point is that your consent was not sought before all these information about you were released. Your privacy has been infringed and assaulted.

How could this have been possible? How could someone have gotten all the dossier without your knowledge? The simple answer is social media. All those tidbits and harmless sorts of information you release while signing up for any brand of the social media are quietly collated and stored away to be used for the rainy day.

Microtargeting which is also known as micro-niche targeting is all about personalizing ads to suit your taste so that you can easily be bought over. It’s ingenuity in market campaigning and you have to give it to them because it’s actually not an easy feat for somebody to launch a war that will see to it that you completely capitulate from the onset.

It is indeed an onerous but a worthwhile task on the part of the social media taking into consideration the fact that the number of people that were connected to the internet according to a report from the Statista in 2017, was 3.58 billion. You can only imagine how the different brands will be smiling to the bank because you simply filled an innocuous and supposedly friendly form online.

Any brand that sets out to do a market campaign does so for the purposes of very handsome ROI and businesses sink in huge sums of funds into this offensive since they aim at cornering their fair share of the global marketing.

The social media has completely revolutionized the behavioral attitude of people and Facebook, for instance, had 1.4 billion active users visiting the social network on a daily basis in the fourth quarter of 2017. Any brand that therefore capitalizes on the reach of the social media to microtargeting the consumers is surely going for the kill.

If the product has all the essential ingredients that appeal to your tastes, interests, likes, and opinions, it’s absolutely normal you go for it without blinking an eye and no second thoughts are given. You may even end up being grateful to the company for being able to launch a product that you have earnestly been looking for especially if the product is good.

Have you ever pondered on how it’s possible that you don’t pay for services rendered by these social media and they still serve you efficiently? The answer lies in this famous quote that has been coined by the digitized world, “If you aren’t paying for it, you’re the product.” This is the exact scenario with these social media and the information you give out on your profile.

In the case of Twitter, it sells its public data that it refers to as firehose which sums up to about 500 million tweets on a daily basis to different companies. The businesses can, in turn, utilize this data to analyze a consumer’s trends and generate your interests and likes about brands and products. This gives rise to the awesome advertisement that completely overwhelms you.

From Facebook, it’s another ball game altogether. You help it to make money inadvertently. It has advertisement as its primary source of revenue and this involves the use of your data for microtargeting. All those subtle information on your profile such as age, sex, and other sundry stuff like that come in handy here.

In 2017, Facebook made $39,942,000,000 from digital advertisement, did I hear you gasp? The bulk of this money came from infringing on your privacy. It makes this money by allowing advertisers to make use of the colossal volume of personal data it has garnered over the years and quietly filed away in the Facebook’s product ecosystem for ads.

Facebook has, for instance, Facebook’s dynamic Ads product and its Lead Ads offering as avenues to execute this project. Over 3 million businesses are advertising on Facebook each month.

That simply means that your data is being indirectly sold to these companies without your consent because you are privileged to access Facebook for free. Do you at this point still believe the Facebook is free?

In conclusion, it is very glaring that social media are indirectly infringing on the privacy of users to make billions of dollars. They aid organizations in microtargeting customers and are able to get away with this because of the so-called free services they render.

The whole stuff sounds a bit creepy but inasmuch as nobody is complaining and everybody seems to be satisfied, the only precaution is to ensure that your sensitive information does not get into the wrong hands. These are people that may have the intent of causing untold harm to you and your business.

Photo Credit: SantaRosa OLD SKOOL Flickr via Compfight cc

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About John Ejiofor

John Ejiofor is a curious life-researcher, whose quest to finding answers to life's pertinent questions has led to founding Nature Torch. This blog aims to debate and explore many questions about our earth -- including those a lot of people are uncomfortable with asking. He has been published on some of the internet's most respected websites, which you can find online.
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