How Companies Are Tracking Your Information Online

It is almost impossible to avoid ever posting personal information on the Internet. Even the person who tries to avoid the Internet at all costs can't escape having to send out an e-mail, purchase products online or submit documents to the government. Using the Internet has become a way of life for individuals. While you may not be able to escape having to use the Internet in your daily life, there are ways that you can eliminate some worry and stress in your life. Understanding how companies are tracking your information can help you avoid using particular websites that are known for gathering information about you, such as Facebook. Here are some of the top ways that companies are tracking your information online.

1. Advertising Purposes

One of the ways in which comp
anies are tracking your information online is by gathering data to create an "online profile" for you. The disturbing part is that your online profile is sold and circulated amongst marketers. These businesses are highly profitable, and they work to gather information about your sex, weight, employer, address and other personal information. You can avoid having your information circulated on the Internet by opting out of online advertisements. Sometimes, people will enter information for what they believe is a sweepstakes or the opportunity to win a free prize. These sorts of contests will require that you enter personal information about yourself. People do not realize that they are actually giving their information for free to companies that will sell and circulate their personal information.

2. Gathering Data from Facebook

Most people have no idea that Facebook is actually one of the leading advertisers that is selling your information online. Facebook provides information to services like Google. Google can use information from Facebook in order to provide Google Ads that are aimed at you. For example, perhaps you "like" the Beatles on Facebook. If Google finds out about this, then Google may begin showing you ads for collectors Beatles CDs being sold online. The way you can avoid this type of data tracking is by not having a Facebook account. Thousands of people are opting out of having a Facebook account due to the way it gathers information about you and distributes it.

3. Tracking Your iPhone Address Book

Some companies are highly sophisticated and are able to see all of the contact information that you have in your iPhone address book. This information is highly valuable for companies that want to advertise to new sets of relationships. They can gain hundreds of new contacts by mining the data within an address book in an iPhone.

4. Using Twitter to Track Your Interests

Companies now regularly patrol Twitter to watch for trends. These companies want to understand the interests of consumers, and Twitter is filled with a wealth of information. They can gain an understanding of the products that are popular with consumers. They can also find out what communication styles work best with consumers by browsing Twitter on a regular basis. There are now marketing companies that are devoted exclusively to analyzing trends on Twitter for major corporations.

Now that you know how companies are using your information online, you may be more careful in the type of information that you decide to make available to the public. Allowing your phone number or other contact data be available to the public can compromise the safety of your identity. It can also put people who are mentioned in your address book at risk for having their accounts hacked. Make sure that you take steps to ensure your information is safe online.

Author Bio:
Carrie Booker is a medical transcriptionist and guest author at, a site with rankings to the top health information degree programs.

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