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Your personal information is more valuable than you think.
Recently, a new trend popped up on Facebook titled the “10 Years Challenge”. At first it seems like a harmless meme, but you should be careful.
Whether this “challenge” was created by Facebook or not, the fact remains that the data you submit to this is extremely valuable to the Facebook company. Having a large group of people uploading images of their faces 10 years ago and now can be used to train their AI on age and sex differences. Why is this important? Because Facebook is looking to collect as much data as they can to make their advertising system as accurate as possible. If you’ve ever seen their advertising system, it’s quite convenient. You upload all of your advertisement data then pick your target audience. You can choose to target based on age range, sex and most important of all, interests. If you were to create an advertising campaign for your company which sells tech support to helpless seniors, you’d simply choose the age range of 50-90, and enter tags such as “tech support”, “computer help”, “computer repair” and other stuff relevant to tech support. Once your campaign is up and running, any person who did a search for something related to computer help services who met your age criteria would most likely see your advertisement. Interests are easy to track, as Facebook keeps track of everything you type into the website and tries to use it to show you advertisements that they think will be relevant to you. Age and sex data is a bit harder for them to track, as it is commonplace for someone to lie about that information on the internet. By training artificial intelligence to detect age differences in people, it won’t matter if you lie about that on your profile, the AI will know how old you are just by looking at an image of you.
Facebook is doing everything they can to get your personal information as accurate as possible, which is why you should avoid uploading or inputting any sensitive information into any part of the website, or even avoid using their services at all because they are most definitely storing it somewhere in a big profile they have of you. It seems people are becoming more aware of this in recent months, but they don’t seem to understand how serious this is. Be careful with your data, it’s much more valuable than you think!
What can I do to avoid companies like Facebook tracking my data and selling it?
Thankfully, there’s many things you can do! I usually like to check my privacy settings to see what information a service is tracking, and turn off anything I don’t like. Most services respect this, but sometimes simply believing that a company is respecting the options you’ve set isn’t enough. So, another option is to find an alternative. There’s almost always a free alternative to a popular service you’re using. Here’s some examples:
That about wraps up this post, thanks for reading! If you have any questions, comments or concerns please reach out to us.
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- Matt Suddaby