Data privacy has been one of the crucial issues faced by the tech industry over ever-increasing incidents of massive data breaches. Along with social media platforms, users also need to take necessary measures to keep their data safe. Leading tech giants such as Google and Facebook have been tracking users not only when they are using their sites but also when users are visiting other websites. According to the research from Princeton Web Transparency & Accountability Project, nearly 76 percent of the websites have hidden trackers from Google installed in them, while 24 percent of the websites have trackers hidden by Facebook. Moreover, Twitter has its trackers hidden in 12 percent of websites.
Google and Facebook have the major impact on users’ privacy and it cannot be undermined. These giants have been collecting a huge amount of user data including their browsing history, purchases, locations, interests, and others. The information collected from sites users visit can be used for targeted advertising on their websites. Moreover, this advertising system enables hyper-targeting, which may lead to unexpected consequences. The repository of huge data makes these two tech giants better in the field of hyper-targeting advertisements than their competitors.
Google and Facebook have gained a strong position in digital advertising with no signs of dethroning their dominance. According to eMarketer, these companies together contribute to 63 percent of share in the digital advertising industry in 2017. They experienced 74 percent growth in the same year. In addition, they put this data in their artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, which control what users see on their websites and what they are likely to click on. However, these two tech firms are heading toward gaining more and more profitability from obtaining personal information and turned their back on negative consequences. These actions may lead bad actors to use their systems to manipulate users and promote discrimination through hyper-targeting. Users need to watch their backs to prevent themselves from getting manipulated and exposed to discrimination.
The government need to demand transparency and prevent invading privacy by these companies. These firms need to offer information on algorithmic and privacy policies to let people know how their personal information is collected and used. So, people can decide on what information to offer them on the platter.
If users need to bring some meaningful changes in terms of protecting their own privacy, they have to take necessary actions. According to the research from DuckDuckGo, nearly 25 percent of American have been already taken necessary measures to keep their data private. There add-ons available, which will prevent these hidden trackers from collecting the information users do not want to share. If these measures are not taken, it will lead to more algorithmic bias, hyper-targeting, less competition, and privacy invasion.
Loss of personal privacy can be avoided in the age of information. Governments need to regulate and ask for transparency. The conscious choice of users to avoid hidden trackers from collecting information about them needs to be made as soon as possible. These two companies have been dominating the digital advertising sector due to lack of awareness of hidden trackers and unwillingness of people to do anything about it. The significant step in the era of information begins with necessary steps taken to protect data privacy.