Friday, December 13, 2013

Online Assignments 4&5_Isaac Ama

Upon first hearing about this assignment, I was quite intrigued. The concept of companies keeping track of my every move on the web is a bit worrisome, but not shocking. Before discovering the things this assignment has shown me, I was sure that any website I created an account with would keep track of me to at least some degree, but the fact that they use it to plan advertisements, and the extent to which they do so was a little surprising.

For example, I didn't know Facebook keep an archive for each person other than what you can see on your page. Despite not having known about the archive at first, I am not shocked by any of the information they have. There is nothing on there that I have not in some way provided them with. They have the information on there that I uploaded myself, and they have kept track of things that I have done on that page (i.e pages I've liked, photos I've uploaded, friends I've added or deleted, etc.). I find it a little annoying that these websites use the information they attain for advertising purposes, but I expected it more from Facebook. I find it less strange that they would do this, because I give them information on my interests. I blatantly tell them what I'm interested in on my page, based on what things I "like", and so on. Google on the other hand, hardly has any direct information from me.

I never actually use my Google account. All that I have actually given them is my age and gender. The rest of the information that they have attained has been by tracking my searches and speculating at my interests. I find this a bit more invasive, because it keeps track of what I do almost unknowingly. I'm not often logged into my Google account, so what they have kept track of is hardly even accurate to my actual interests. The fact that Google keeps track of my searches to try and develop an idea of what I'm interested in to help with advertising is kind of disturbing to me. It makes me realize that in the realm of the Internet privacy doesn't really exist. Someone is always keeping track of what you're doing somehow.

On Facebook, the interests that they have about me are fairly accurate, because I tell them that I like it, but with Google it's all speculation. On Facebook I can unlike a page, but I can't un-search something on Google. Things that I may have searched a few times only, or things that I search for a class project will get added to speculated interests, when in reality that may not be the case at all. In my opinion, Facebook by far keeps track of these things better, and it's seemingly more acceptable for them to keep tabs as well.

All in all, nothing much surprised me about the fact that these sites keep tabs on interests to try and aim advertising, but the way they do so and how much they keep track of can be unnerving at times. Despite all of that, the easiest way to avoid worrying about it is just be careful about how you use these sites and their keeping tabs will hardly matter at all.

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