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Ad Tech and Privacy

According to a data report, 356 billion U.S. dollars were spent on digital advertising in 2020.


Shifali Bharti

A 2018 study by The New York Times found that at least 75 companies obtain accurate location data from hundreds of apps where users permit location sharing. AdTech has an extremely complicated and opaque side to it.

Data is fuel to the digital advertising industry

How advertising industries are making money out of our daily searches and double clicks? And what kind of data? Data from the information we as users produce every day by sharing photos, posts, tweets, and information that we consume by clicking on the ads and videos. Ad networks collect a gigantic amount of user information from search histories and browser data. It overlaps with the concept of privacy. And few are aware of the fact that their data is being collected and used by social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and, Instagram etcetera. Anything we do online or search online is collected and individual profiles are built based on who the user is and, who the user knows. Advertising works more effectively if they know the age, income, gender, sexuality, location of a person and it seems that anyone can have the access to this information.

Facebook acknowledged in response to an article in The Wall Street Journal that many popular applications on its site had shared identifying information about users, and in some cases about their friends, with advertisers and web tracking companies without user’s consent. Advertisers target ads to users on the basis of their sexual orientation by learning sensitive information about them through the data collected online.

Through internet cookies Google tracks every single information user shares online on a regular basis. These cookies pop up around the web to collect a variety of information about the user to support targeted ads.

These conversations around privacy and transparency make it clear that the future of AdTech is in conflict with the values of user privacy.

Apple, one of the world’s largest AdTech companies, has taken an alternative to bring a positive change to the industry. It has turned the marketing world upside down by banning IDFA. Facebook and Google, the social media giants, are unable to get an exact return on investment for their ads after this ban.

Now, Google is also blocking its third-party cookies and moving to FLOC (Federated Leaning of Cohorts), its third-party cookie replacement technology. A thoughtful step that users can trust. Google’s step claims that this alternative measure will no longer let advertisers know users’ identity, which means they no longer can show targeted ads.

(Note: Inspired by Podcast)

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