How Data Brokers and Social Media Platforms Collect Your Data?

  • By Farrukh Mushtaq

    Farrukh Mushtaq

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    Farrukh Mushtaq, a digital marketer at PureSquare, possesses a keen interest in cybersecurity and enjoys writing about it. With several years of experience in the digital marketing industry, he brings expertise and passion to his work.

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  • 9 May 2024
  • 12 mins read

Ever feel like your phone knows your deepest, darkest desires? 

Like that social media ad for that exact pair of flame-thrower sunglasses you secretly wanted is just a glitch in the matrix? 

Buckle up because it's not magic – it's data brokers and social media platforms working together to create a digital bulldozer on you to extract your information. 

Let's discuss how your data is collected and how you can take back control of your online footprint!

What are Data Brokers?

Companies or organizations that gather and aggregate customer information to create comprehensive profiles are known as data brokers. They then sell that profile to other companies or third parties.

Hence, the owner of Facebook, Meta, was fined a ground-breaking €1.2 billion (£1 billion) and told to stop transferring user data from the EU to the US.

Due to the increasing global usage of mobile devices and social media, vast quantities of consumer data are being generated. This data is crucial for gaining competitive advantages in business.

The market for data brokers worldwide was estimated to be worth US$319.030 billion in 2021, and it is anticipated to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.96% to reach US$545.431 billion in 2028.

In What Ways Do Data Brokers Gather Your Information?

Data brokers obtain this information from numerous sources, such as:

Social Media Platforms

Data brokers can profit significantly from the details you share on social media, including your birthday and the locations you visit.

Public Records

Information gathered by data brokers may include voter registration, property, and court records.

Online Search History

It is possible to follow and gather information about your browser history, the websites you visit, and even the cookies you accept.

Online Purchases

Your data profile may be updated each time you make an online purchase from any E-commerce or business website.

Which Forms of Information Do Data Brokers Gather About You?

Data brokers gather a lot of information about you from these various sources. They gather the following forms of data:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Current and past addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Income level
  • Education level
  • Information about property ownership
  • Details on registering to vote
  • Court documents (if made public)
  • Bankruptcy records (if accessible to the public)
  • Browsing history
  • Online shopping habits and purchases

Dr. Shoshana Zuboff, author of the eye-opening book "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism," even calls these platforms "surveillance capitalists," turning your everyday life into a giant experiment to sell you more stuff.

Data brokers collect fragments of information about you from multiple sources to build a profile. These are a few deceitful methods they use to get your information:

By Tracing Your Online Footprint

You leave data traces each time you use an app, view a website, or complete an online survey. Data brokers gather this information about your online activities, interests, and browsing patterns through cookies, trackers, and web scraping.

By App Infiltration

A lot of apps use software development kits (SDKs) that are incorporated into them to collect data covertly. These SDKs can monitor your actions inside and outside the app, providing the data broker with data.

By Purchasing Your Information

Credit card firms, shops, loyalty programs, and other businesses may sell your information to data brokers. The data bundle may include information about your spending, the coupons you utilize, and your past purchases.

By Searching Public Records

Data brokers make money by searching through public information such as voter registration, marriage licenses, and property ownership. Combining this data can create a more complete picture of your existence.

For What Purposes Do Data Brokers and Social Media Gather Your Information?

Data brokers gather personal data for several reasons, some of which are advantageous and others of which are a little more invading. The primary causes are outlined below:

Targeted Advertising

Advertisers can construct a target audience by using data brokers to create a profile of your likes, behaviors, and demographics. This makes advertisements more effective by enabling businesses to contact consumers more likely to be interested in their offerings.

Fraud Detection

Data brokers can assist in spotting questionable conduct by looking into your internet and banking activity. Banks and other organizations may find this helpful in identifying fraud attempts and safeguarding your accounts.

Background Checks

Data broker reports are frequently used by employers and landowners to confirm the information that applicants and renters have submitted. Public documents, previous addresses, and employment histories are a few examples of this.

Marketing Research

Data brokers can offer insightful information about the patterns and behaviors of consumers. Businesses might utilize this information to create new goods and advertising strategies.

Non-Profit Applications

Non-profit groups may occasionally use data broker information to focus outreach campaigns to particular demographics or find possible sponsors.

To avoid these issues, use PurePrivacy, which completely protects your social media accounts and blocks trackers. 

To make your online identity safe and secure, it detects privacy concerns, adjusts social network settings, and even uses data privacy laws to get your information removed from data brokers.

How Can Data Protection Laws Secure Your Data Rights?

Data protection and privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) apply to organizations processing individuals' data in the European Union. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) grants California residents rights over the personal information businesses hold.

TikTok faced a ban due to its lack of data privacy issues. Although the US operations of TikTok supported nearly 59,000 employees, they produced $2 billion in taxes and added $8.5 billion to the GDP.

These laws give you control over your personal information. Here's how:

  • Organizations must comply with these rules by being open and honest about the data they gather, how they use it, and who they share it with.

  • They allow people to see their data, ask for its removal, and choose not to have it sold to outside parties.
  • Many data protection regulations include clauses requiring businesses to implement robust security measures to protect personal data.

It is difficult to understand the privacy laws and policies. Using privacy management tools helps.

Reliable tools, such as PurePrivacy, keep your data secure by making opt-out requests on your behalf and utilizing data privacy legislation, depending on your area. 

By following these demands, data brokers are further directed to reduce your social media presence within the data broker network by deleting any personal information they may have previously gathered about you.

  • Simplify your online presence today

    With PurePrivacy, make sure all your personal data remains safe without a hassle!

The Future of Data Brokers and Hopefully, More Privacy

The issue of data privacy and data brokers is a hot potato, and the conversation is far from over. Senator Elizabeth Warren has even called for legislation to crack down on this shadowy industry. 

More regulations and a lot of user awareness are crucial to creating a more transparent online space where you're in control.

Remember, your data is valuable, and you deserve to decide how it's used. So, stay informed, be mindful of what you share, and fight for your right to social media without the constant feeling of being watched!