When the world of Social Media was discovered and assimilated into our lives we had no idea how it would change the world of marketing. We had no idea they would collect data on everything we do while on the internet. Tracking the websites we visit, the topics we search and items we buy.

We click boxes given websites permissions we don't read. When all the tracking was discovered people got incredibly offended which resulted in Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook testifying before congress about how Facebook handles their user's data.

While everyone was getting upset and maybe legitimately we also have to realize we permitted them to collect our data by using the website. The media wanted us to think there was a major hack that was influencing our politics and other things but according to Medium.com (You can Google – Cambridge Analytica Scandal with Facebook.) there was no hack!!

There was no Hack

The data that was collected was scraped from Facebook user profiles after users granted permission for a third-party app to access their data.

Do you know how sometimes when you visit a site, rather than create a new username and password, you just decide to use your Facebook login?

Your Facebook login becomes your username and password for that random website that you're asking to get access to.

That's what happened.

A Cambridge University academic named Aleksandr Kogan created a personality tester app, and rather than market the app, he actually paid people $2 to $4 to install the app on their own device or computer on a crowd-sourcing site.

He used the permissions granted by this feature in Facebook to harvest profile data.

So in exchange for getting access to this “test your personality” app, it basically connected Facebook to the app, and therefore…

270,000 people installed this app and therefore gave access to their profile and all their data was harvested and collected and they paid, in this case, $2 to $4 to have that happen.

Nothing illegal happened, except there was a breach of contract

The one shady thing that did happen, aside from the fact that Facebook allowed people to do that, is that Kogan was approached by a company called Cambridge Analytica.

Kogan sold that data to Cambridge Analytica and then Cambridge Analytica used that data to create avatars or profiles of voters in different parts of the world.

This date was used to find users in different parts of the United States in the Ted Cruz campaign, Donald Trump's campaign, I think in Brexit, and a bunch of other places.

That's the back story.

How is all this data used

You will notice on Facebook the ads that come on your newsfeed are very similar to the things you talk about, the things you are searching on the internet sometimes it seems the things you are thinking about. Facebook uses the data they collect and the tools built into Facebook to uber-target ads to their users interests and buying habits.

Facebook has a built-in AI, artificial intelligence, that allows advertisers to give Facebook very simple instructions.

That allows them to micro-target an ideal prospect, people that are already predetermined or predisposed to have an interest in what they are offering.

For advertisers this is great for consumers it's something to be aware of.

What options do we really have??

I've heard some say “If they're going to advertise at least it's things I'm interested in.” That is one approach, but depending on how susceptible you are to advertising you might be surprised at how much you spend without realizing it.

According to Web24.news:

From now on, Apple will ask the user if he wishes, to grant access to geolocation or to the camera, “to allow targeting” by third companies and personalization of advertisements, or “ask the application not to target. ”

If the user does not give his consent, the advertising services embedded in the application will not be able to identify him and perform, for example, cross-referencing with his activity in other applications, which allow specialized companies to compile complete consumer profiles.

I do appreciate how Apple is giving it's users the ability to not be tracked so easily and for savvy internet users there are ways to turn tracking off on most devices.

This is giving room for new Social Media sites like MeWe to attract users due to the fact they do not sell your information to advertisers. They do have a nominal charge for different features on their site, but it's a choice you can be on Facebook for free and have your data sold or be on MeWe and pay a little to maintain your privacy.

I believe we do have options. We have to be a bit more aware and proactive so we aren't taken advantage of in this online world.

To your success

Heidi 😉

    2 replies to "Are Our Minds Private or For Sale?"

    • Dr Renee Cohn Jones

      Love the catchy title! I am one of those people who DOES read everything. It took me 5+ years to finally decide to join Facebook because of some of that fine print.
      This was informative and very thorough. Thank you!

    • Doug

      Thank you Heidi for a detailed report on the behind the scenes marketing on the web.
      It is a reminder to be careful and aware of what is going on.
      Blog on !

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