Home Guest Contributor How Google, Apple and Facebook Use Your Private Information?

How Google, Apple and Facebook Use Your Private Information?

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Digital services have become an intrinsic part of daily life for many people today. Platforms like Google, Apple, and Facebook stand out in their ability to attract massive audiences around their services, tools, and devices. But that’s not the only reason they’re getting noticed. The immense popularity of these businesses has also raised questions about how they handle and use the personal information of millions of users.

Facebook data mining practices, for example, have been constantly criticized on media for years now. The social media giant doesn’t just track user data on its platform. It even monitors its users’ online activities on other websites. And you wouldn’t need to have an account with it either. Facebook is interested in non-users, too, and frequently adopts tracking software to collect private information without explicit consent.

Google and Apple have drawn attention for similarly invasive practices. But what’s behind their curiosity and penchant for personal data? The answer lies in the monetizing power of information. Part or most of the revenue these platforms make comes from advertising income.

Data is at the center of how they improve services and customize advertisements and promotions. So, they partner with third parties to track your activities on other sites as well. It helps them to amass more and more information about individuals.

And it doesn’t stop there. These platforms could also share what they have with third parties in the hopes of monetizing it further. These data sharing and trading practices have raised regulatory scrutiny over threats to individual privacy.

Keeping data safe

Google, Apple, and Facebook are undoubtedly essential resources for modern-day users. But the threats they pose to your data privacy are significant. So, a conscious effort to protect your private information is critical. Here’s a guide to minimizing your exposure to data tracking by these platforms.

Understand privacy settings and policies

Before you sign up for an account on a website, understanding privacy settings and policies is critical. Account settings allow you to control how and when sites could access your data. For example, you can prevent them from monitoring your activities, sharing your information with third parties, and tracking your activities off-site.

In addition, the user policies will detail how and when platforms collect, process, and use your data. These are important tools available to understand the scale of risks you are involuntarily accepting by setting up an account and determine how best you should engage with the site.

Avoid cookies

Cookies have become an essential tool for websites to track user behavior. They allow businesses to gain deeper insights into your online activities and monetize that knowledge in various ways. Of course, Apple and Google are already working on scrapping third-party cookies from their platforms. But this won’t do much to keep you safe from their first-party cousins. So, avoiding or limiting cookies is a critical step to evade intrusive practices adopted by businesses like Facebook.

Avoid browser tracking

Browser safety hardly crops up in conversations when it comes to the topic of keeping data safe. However, browsers such as Chrome and Safari collect and store a remarkable amount of information, too. For example, they can store details about your search queries, login credentials, downloaded files, cookies, and cached files and images. However, they also provide the options to clear these stored data. So, make use of them regularly to avoid leaving behind unnecessary data trails.

Get VPN protection

A virtual private network is another important tool to protect your data from unwanted tracking. It can conceal your IP address and help you remain anonymous online. VPNs are available for both free and as paid services. Paid options will typically have more servers in multiple countries and better security infrastructure. But some VPNs are also known for questionable data collecting practices. So ensure you select a reputed service.

The most effective solution to minimize tracking is to reduce your online engagement on these platforms and others linked to them. But, of course, closing your Google, Apple, and Facebook accounts might not be a practical option, considering the extraordinary benefits they offer users.

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