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TBayIT - Web Design / Development, Web Hosting, Content Management Systems

Who’s Following Who?

Posted on May 23, 2011

Like, Follow, Share, Add – these are all buttons that are appearing on almost every single web site these days. It is a fantastic method for web site publishers to get their visitors to join the conversation on social networks, but it is also a fantastic way for the big Internet companies to follow you (even if you don’t click these buttons).

If you are logged into Facebook, Twitter or Google Accounts and come across a “Like” button for Facebook, a “Follow” button for Twitter, or even hidden Google Analytics on the page you are visiting, this information is reported back to them. This is an extremely valuable way for these companies to learn more about you and in turn, market specific products to your specific interests.

Before the birth of social media, tracking people was more difficult and done through ad networks, toolbars and malware. But now people seem to be racing to publish their life stories online. For the typical person, Facebook knows things like age, marital status, friends, family, interests, occupation – but now they also know very personal things (have you ever searched for a medical problem?)

There has always been speculation on how Twitter makes money? Think of the value of their tracking database – pure marketing gold!

There are ways you can protect yourself. There are very useful plug-ins for your browser that can block this. If you use Chrome try Disconnect – very handy and easy to toggle on and off. Another tip is to make sure you log out of Twitter, Facebook and Google when you don’t want to be tracked and clear your Internet history on a regular basis.

Watch this Video on CNet for More Information

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