How Google, Facebook 'know your deepest, darkest secrets'

Published: May. 8, 2019 at 5:22 PM EDT
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Google and Facebook have your digital footprint, and it is how the companies make as much money they do.

For every dollar spent in digital advertising, fifty cents goes to Google, and eighteen cents goes to Facebook.

One person who is also cashing in on digital advertising is Bobby Hicks of Somerset. He is the owner and CEO of Indiview Media, and the company specializes in this kind of advertising. Hicks has a plaque hanging on his wall from Facebook congratulating him on using $350 on digital advertising and turning it into $154,000 in revenue.

"What we're doing now is completely different than what we were doing five years ago," Hicks said.

Most who use Facebook have probably noticed all the advertising on their Facebook feed, and strangely, the ads seem to be items you are actually interested in. We know many find this to be creepy, and Hicks said it's all part of Facebook's strategy to deliver online revenue.

"It's uncanny how much data they collect on you," Hicks said.

He says it's all about the Facebook pixel. Any page a person goes to with the Facebook icon on it tracks the person's every click. That way, advertisers are able to get to the customers who have shown interest in their product.

"Not only do they know what you're searching, they also know what you're buying. Facebook knows what purchases you've made, they know what your interests are, they know all your browsing history, they know your browsing data. So anytime you leave another website and it's got a pixel on it, they're recording that information," Hicks explained.

Hicks said Google knows even more about Internet users than Facebook does.

"They know your deepest darkest secrets." Hicks said, "Think about all the stuff you search on Google that you don't want anyone to know. Google knows."

Europe has cracked down on online tracking. Advertisers can't track people without expressed consent.

"They know that people are annoyed, and they're having a poor user experience because it is constant ads on Facebook," said Hicks.

If a person doesn't like being tracked, there are some things to do to cut down on being followed. You can delete Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. You can download an ad tracking extension to disable tracking. However, Hicks said, this still will not stop all of the tracking.

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