Have you ever been on your phone, searched for something online and then a few hours later an advertisement for the exact thing you were searching for appears as an advertisement?
Well, this is because applications and websites like Facebook and Amazon are creating targeted ads based upon your entire online activity.
How Are Apps Targeting You?
If you search for a product on Amazon without buying, Amazon will target you with specific remarketing advertisements to remind you about the product. Basically, they want you to make a purchase and any time you’re on Amazon they’re collecting data about you.
Facebook does the same thing. They’re using specific data about you based upon the pages you like, your friends, and even more. That’s why when you like or visit a page, you’re bombarded with advertisements in your newsfeed.
Part of the problem with these targeted advertisements is that fact that we share too much information and give applications too much access to our phone.
Giving Apps Permission to Access Your Device
When you download an app, do you notice that it asks you for permission to access your devices Storage, Location, Contacts, and more? Often times, we just blindly agree to things without reading what it says. Unfortunately, if we deny these request to access your device then you probably won’t be able to download the application. It’s just become something we have to live with.
Are Applications Listing Through Our Microphones?
With the rise of services like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Facebook portal there has been a lot of concern if these devices are listening to us without permission.
People have been claiming that they are receiving advertisements based upon the conversations they are having. For instance, if I’m near my phone talking about buying a new guitar, a few hours later I might get an advertisement about buying a guitar on Facebook.
For the most part, these claims have been disputed, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that your phone and applications could someday be spying on us.
How Can You Browse The Internet Safely?
At this point, it is nearly unavoidable to be targeted by advertisements from Facebook and Amazon, but there are few ways to go the extra mile:
- You can restrict which applications have access to your device
- Avoid using traditional browsers and search engines like Chrome, Edge, Google Search, and Bing.
- You can also use a VPN, but be careful – many free VPNs do not have privacy policies in place and could be sharing your date. Learn more about the benefits of using a VPN.