expressed opinion entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
Have you ever browsed the web naively only to find that the ad shown to you is a little too perfect for your conversation only Completed before you pick up the phone?Maybe you’ve noticed that you see a title a dozen times in Netflix’s recommendations looks different Suddenly, thumbnails tempt you to watch trailers that you might not have before.
That’s because Netflix and most other companies today use massive amounts of real-time data (like the shows and movies you click on) to decide what to display on the screen. This level of “personalization” is supposed to make our lives easier, but in a monetization-first world, these strategies hinder our free choice.
Now, more than ever, we need to ask questions about how our data is used to curate what we show and ultimately our opinions. But how do you get around the so-called personalized, monetized, big data-driven results you’re seeing? The first is a better understanding of what’s going on behind the scenes.
How companies use our data to curate content
Companies are known to use data about what we search for, perform and buy online to “curate” what they think we are most likely to click on. The problem is that this approach to curation is based solely on the goal of monetization, which in turn silently limits your freedom of choice and ability to find new information.
For example, how ad network decision show you what.Advertisers pay per impression, but they spend more When a user actually clicks, that’s why ad networks want to deliver the content you’re most likely to interact with. Using big data built around your browsing habits, most ads shown to you will show brands and products you’ve viewed in the past. This reinforces preferences, but doesn’t necessarily allow you to explore new options.
Depending on how you interact with the ads shown to you, they will further optimize sales, giving you more of what you click on and less on what you don’t. All the while, you’ve been living in an ad bubble that can affect product recommendations, local listings for restaurants, services, and even the articles that appear in your newsfeed.
In other words, by simply showing you more of the same content, companies are maximizing their profits while actively hindering your ability to discover new information—a very harmful thing to do.
related: How companies are using big data to boost sales, and how to do it
What we see online shapes our opinions
Social media platforms are one of the strongest examples of how harmful big data can be without proper monitoring.
Suddenly, it became clear that curated content almost forced us into silos. When dealing with products and services, it can be inconvenient, but when it comes to news and political topics, many consumers find themselves stuck. Dangerous feedback loop Didn’t even realize it.
Once social media platforms hook you up to specific demographics, you’ll start seeing more content that supports the views you’ve seen before and aligns with the views you seem to hold.As a result, you may end up surrounded by the following information seems to confirm your belief And perpetuate stereotypes, even if that’s not the whole truth.
It’s getting harder and harder to find information that isn’t somehow “curated” to match what the algorithm thinks you want to see. This is why leaders are beginning to recognize the dangers of big data monopolies.
related: Google plans to stop targeting ads based on your browsing history
How can we safely monitor and control this data monopoly?
Data sharing isn’t inherently bad, but it’s crucial that we start to think more carefully about how our data is used to shape the opinions and information we find online. Beyond that, we need to work on breaking out of our information bubbles and purposefully looking for different and alternative perspectives.
If you look back a few generations, people read newspapers and magazines and even picked up an encyclopedia every once in a while. They also listen to local news and listen to the radio. At the end of the day, they hear different perspectives from different people, each with their own source. In a way, people respect these different viewpoints more.
today we don’t check at all Source as many sources as possible before we form an opinion. Despite questionable curatorial practices, some of the burden still falls on us as individuals to remain curious. This applies to news, political topics, and any search that monetizes your data to control the results you see, be it products, institutions, services, or charities.
related: Does Customer Data Privacy Really Matter? it should.
It’s time to take back ownership of our preferences
You probably don’t have an encyclopedia shelf that provides mostly neutral, factual information on any given topic. However, you do have the opportunity to spend some time looking for contrasting opinions and alternative suggestions so you can start breaking out of the content curation bubble.
This is not a matter of opposing data sharing, but recognizing that data sharing has its drawbacks. If you’re already relying entirely on the recommendations and opinions that algorithms generate for you, it’s time to start asking more questions and spending more time thinking about why you’re seeing brands, ads, and content appearing in your feed. It might be time to dabble in something new.
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