Truth Behind Advertising In A Digital Era

Social media has a presence in virtually every country around the world. From the 1.79 billion monthly active Facebook users, to the 317 million Twitter users, digital advertising is likely to be viewed multiple times per day.

With the ever present addition of advertising on these various platforms, how do people feel about how their information is treated online? How does searching for something allow companies to follow consumers’ Internet activities?

In October of 2016, the Federal Communications Commission sided with those concerned about their privacy. Their recently enforced rule requires websites that contain advertisements with user data to seek the individual user’s permission prior to displaying the material. If they are to deny it, the advertisement publisher is forbidden to collect the user’s data for targeting purposes.

“We carry more intimate information on the devices in our pockets and on our wrists than most personal diaries,” said Diego Naranjo, advocacy manager at European Digital Rights. “Our browsing history alone can already tell a lot about us and who we are, where we are, what we do in our free time, our fears, our political views and our relationships.”

In today’s era of constant connectedness, it is not a coincidence that popular websites, such as the New York Times or Amazon.com, happen to display a user’s favorite products and services. Online advertising works by reading users’ cookies, which are small data files kept on each user’s computer after they visit a website.

These cookies are then intercepted by third party advertisers, such as AdChoices and Google AdSense, which take what one has recently looked up. Next, these advertisement publishers attempt to display relevant material to them based on their previous queries, while tracking their user’s every move once he or she makes the click on the targeted advertisement.

“Facebook serves as a spearhead for producers [and] consumers to spread information around the world,” said Taiwo Justice Olorunlana, senior. “For me, Facebook is a multidimensional social network for all businesses that grant business autonomy for its users.”

Since online advertising’s inception at the beginning of the internent’s time, their abilities have become more intricate, making this industry a booming business.

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