You may not realize this, but your every step online is being tracked.
Little pieces of code planted on sites send information to large companies that use big data and machine learning algorithms to create a perfect avatar of you. This valuable information is later used for online advertising targeting with extreme accuracy.
Companies like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google (FANG) invest billions of dollars in learning more about their customers, and the work of the algorithm magic that lets them maximize their profits.
One of the prime examples of a company using advanced tracking is Facebook. The Silicon Valley tech giant continually comes up with innovative technologies like the Facebook Bot or Facebook Avatar. But what most people don’t know is that Zuckerberg’s company also heavily invests in user tracking technologies.
According to research conducted by Tracker Radar, Facebook-owned trackers appear on 36% of the top 50,000 biggest websites online. The company also has the Facebook Connect technology that allows users to log into various online platforms by using their Facebook login credentials.
However, once you use Facebook to gain access to any app, it will send a lot of information back to the tech giant. This, along with Facebook Social Plugins, allows them to build an even more precise portrait of your online activity.
But this kind of tech is used not only by Facebook but other big companies as well. There are entities you’ve probably never heard of like Rubicon Project, AppNexus, Inc., or TowerData that continuously come up with new ways of spying on online users. So next time, when you see an ad on YouTube or Instagram that hits your emotional core, you can thank them for that.
But is this a form of mental manipulation something that we should welcome, unlike random ads? Everyone needs to make up their mind on this one.
As you can see, website trackers are everywhere, so you would need to hide your online activity through VPNs, incognito browser mode, or refusing to use services of Google or Facebook (which is not easy).
If you want to know how many different trackers launch once you hit any website, you can install a Google Chrome extension like Ghostery, which will show you the tracking scripts of the site you currently find yourself on. This data will often amaze you as you realize just how many people and companies there are out there watching your every move online.