Would You Rather have Social Networks Track Your Online Activity or Have Them Make Money off of You?

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Social Networks Track Your Activity

I have often wondered which of the two social giants were the lesser of two evils when it came to privacy, and although I choose to be a public person, I still remain wary of my privacy rights and how I too can protect myself from having those rights violated.

I am clearly not the only one since privacy amongst social networks is not a new topic nor is it one that has yet to not strike up a debate. We sure love having our social networks given to us financially free, but at what cost are we truly paying to use Google and Facebook?

According to a free web based service where you are able to find out needed information about your privacy, whether it is being infringed on and providing you the ability to fix it, PrivacyFix, (which I recently wrote about on Socialeyezer) gains the information from Facebook, Google, apps and websites to provide you with the knowledge you are most certainly longing for when it comes to your personal data without storing any of your personal data for themselves.


As I discovered this interesting web-based service I was intrigued to find out what Facebook and Google in particular retained from me while I used their social platforms and here is what I discovered.


According to the findings on PrivacyFix, Facebook tracks 91% of my online activities (yes, this includes what I do off of Facebook), yet they financially gain $2.94.


On the other hand…


According to the findings on PrivacyFix, Google tracks my online activities less with only 22% of online tracking, whereas they financially gain $380.18 from ads due to my online activities.


So which is the lesser of two evils Facebook or Google?

It is no secret that Facebook tops my list as my favorite social network, but Google is my favorite search engine… so neither creates a biased choice.

With that said, I had to think which would I rather want a social network to gain from my activities online, would it be my information or would it be that I would want them to make money off of what I choose to do online.

That one is tough, since I think arguably we might all want to use social networks for free, literally. I think we would want neither our information to be retained for their use to make money through third party sites nor would we want them to make money from us based on the amount of activities we do on the web.

If you were to try and decipher which is worse, you may find the conclusion to be equal, since both Facebook and Google track our activities and both make money, directly or indirectly.

So in this instance Facebook would win in my books (yes, I know, yet again). But truly it is not because it is my favorite social site, but rather because I am able to choose to block, deny or completely leave Facebook.

Whereas with Google, I am still in charge of protecting a majority of my data, however it would be harder to give up on a search engine I have become heavily reliant on, not to mention that it also influences my e-mail address, another social network Google+ and YouTube, this isn’t even mentioning the other sites Google owns.

In conclusion, though I am heavily addicted to Facebook professionally and personally, I still am less tangled up with Facebook then I am with Google. The data that is collected about me is through Facebook (one source) where I can choose to turn on and off, where with Google; there are many sources I would have to familiarize myself with to protect my privacy.

There is no lesser evil, since both social sites make money due to tracking. Just because the dollar signs aren’t prevalent does not mean that they are not being made since the tracking of our activities provides Facebook or Google information to sell to third-party apps that pay to advertise and target their audiences for marketing.

So although one may look worse than the other, they are both providing us services, both taking data and making money… but when you think about it, none of the money directly comes out of our pockets and even though one is your addiction and the other your homepage they are both still businesses first.

[Facebook Google image via valuewalk]


About Erin Ryan

+Erin Ryan is a writer for various Social Media & Tech blogs and currently works as the Director of Social Media for the Internet Marketing Company, Wikimotive. Erin has a keen understanding of the power of Social Media for business and fervently stays up-to-date. Creator and head editor of Socialeyezer She enjoys finding the latest in social media, tech and geek culture. Erin often expresses her thoughts and opinions on TheErinRyan. Connect through Erin Ryan's About.me Profile

2 thoughts on “Would You Rather have Social Networks Track Your Online Activity or Have Them Make Money off of You?

  1. I think google and facebook have every right to make money off of its users. They provide so many free services that cost alot of money to provide the public. Servers are not free to run.

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