How Does Facebook “Creep on” Your Activities? Use Data Selfie to Find out!

I am not sure if you have the same occupational hazard like me, as a marketer. Whenever I see ads from Facebook, Instagram and Google, I always guess why they show me these ads, what kind of person I am in their “eyes” and what interests they think I have from analyzing my data with these sophisticated and almost creepy big data tools. Is it because I looked up Paris last week, then the travel agencies start to targeting at me? Is it that I looked up jobs at Glassdoor so all these ads of job searching tools start to blow up my social media? From what activity data that they get to build the customer persona of me?

While thinking of this, I found this new Google extension that gives you an approximation how Facebook collect and analyze your data. It’s called Data Selfie and it’s super awesome. Here’s my friend Lisa’s data selfie looks like:

Data Selfie
Data SelfieData Selfie

This dashboard looks very old and “techie” at my first glance, but then I realized that because they want to show us the original taste of processing data and transparent information. If you install and use it, you will see that your profile picture looks like a X-ray picture when you have body check. One thing in its interface that needs to be improved is that, when you use Facebook and read any posts, there will be a little timer thing within a circle counting the time you spent at the left bottom, I personally found it very distracting. We all know that we work differently on online quizzes when there is a timer counting down as opposed to when there is not : )

Data Selfie monitors and records things that you looked, clicked, liked, typed even if you didn’t post it and the time you spent on posts. It also generates report of relevance and sentiment of people, organization and place from the content you read, personality prediction, religion orientation, political orientation and shopping preferences. But don’t worry, these data will only be stored locally and won’t be sent to any external server. In addition, the creator of Data selfie made the code open-source at GitHub.

How amazing technology today is able to help analyze human from various dimensions and it makes me wonder how private and secure our information is on the internet today.

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As we talk about user privacy on the internet, we also concern about transparency of what companies do with our data.

Google announced that it will allow third party to audit ad measurement and data collection of YouTube and AdWords, after Facebook made the same decision. Both of the companies were criticized for not revealing their ad measurement metrics to the public. In fact, no one knows how the algorithm really works and we have been kind of guessing and exploring methods that lead to successful advertising campaigns. This progress is definitely a step forward to transparency for advertisers and I look forward to seeing how it will change digital marketing methods and techniques as the ad measurement becomes more transparent.

As an internet and telecommunication user, if you want to keep your information private, internet privacyyou can use some apps to generate random emails or phone numbers for you to use. I personally like SudoApp or SudoPay. They have neat and clean interface and east-to-use features. No need to create any account or password, just simply download the app and it generates phone numbers and emails for you to use. From now on, you can subscribe to any websites with Sudo emails and not worry about all these junk emails after. If you want to get rid of it, just simply delete the email in the app and it will be gone. With SudoPay, which works like ApplePay, you can add your debit or credit card and it will create virtual Mastercard with a number and expiration date for you. The merchants will only receive information of the virtual cards and don’t worry about that your debit card will be copied and stolen.

Sudo App


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