The Ethical issue of mass data gathering and targeted adverts

More than half of the social media users still have the question of what is the source of income for social media sites such as Facebook, which is especially popular among people? Surely we don’t pay monthly subscription for the social network sites we use or neither we make one off payment to them. So how do they benefit from us? Well the answer is that we don’t pay by debit card or money in cash, but we all pay them by the personalize data we input individually.

As we use social media for our personal or career purposes over the months and years we make a unique path which is consists of who we connected with, what have we share, what is our interests, hobbies, age, place of living and other activities. This uniqueness is treated as a product wich can be sold to other commercial organizations or can be targeted for advertisement [1].

Social media companies such as Facebook analyse billions of these unique load of data that is gathered from every individual, to spot any trend into the analysed data and react to it based on their own advantages, such as targeted advertisement to every single user based on their interests and experiences [1].

Here is a lecture from Beverly Mays on how different social sites gather personal data and how they use them.

Data also collected using cookies. Cookies are data that are saved locally in the users device, and they are used for smart browsing.

The main discussion for this topic is the significant bounce effect of these data gathering to the users who provided these mass data. The main advantages it brings to the users is that it enables them to be known online, users see only adverts that they interested in, individual can be targeted for recruitment by organisations, also it provides smart browsing which saves users a lot of time.

Despite that it has many advantages to the user, it has also raised the issue of exceeding the users privacy, many of us don’t agree for our data to be used by third party organizations, however social media sites such as Facebook do sell our personalized data to other companies without even many of us being aware of. Until a couple of years ago websites also used to access users cookies without their permission, however since then cookies law invented to make users aware that their data (cookies) being accessed [2].




[3] youtube


3 thoughts on “The Ethical issue of mass data gathering and targeted adverts

  1. Hello Saber.
    Nice piece of writing, I personally like the direction you’ve have taken from the topic that we were given. The subject area that you have chosen to write about was clearly explained and very informative, the video was also a good find that expanded the point perfectly.
    Before reading this, I have to say, I really didn’t know that social media sites actually used your personal data to actively target you with specific adverts based on the data taken. In your opinion would you be for or against targeted advertisement of this kind if you had to choose to have to or not? Personally I don’t feel comfortable with it since I am protective over who is using my data and what they would be using it for.


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