I bought a new phone this weekend: an LG Stylo 4. I need to return it because I can’t root it. I thought about just finally calling it quits with my insistence on being able to root and just using the phone as it ships. After all, millions of people have various amounts of data uploaded to the Googlesphere every day, and no massive problem has happened. Besides, the reason they collect that data is just to deliver more targeted ads, so maybe I really just need to turn a new leaf and deem that beneficial?
Except, I do have something to hide. And so do you.
See, there is actually a career called “advertising psychology”. That entire field consists of people whose job it is to create ads which exploit things in your psyche to make an ad more effective to you. I’m not kidding. Your Facebook and Instagram likes (and other emotive reacts), how long you stay on a page, what things you comment on, what apps are on your phone, what pages outside of Facebook and Google you visit, and plenty of other information all feeds into this profile about which emotions appeal best to get you to act in a particular way. Then, advertisers use that profile.
The profile being built is basically a means by which to determine how to best manipulate you to purchase a particular product. Once that profile is built, how will you combat it? Shadow profiles will continue to be built even if you cancel your Google and Facebook accounts. You’re ultimately powerless, and studies have shown that facts are unlikely to change your mind.
Look, I’m not opposed to advertising in the abstract. There is a need to be able to find out what things are available so I can make an informed choice. However, these profiles are basically the most reliable means by which to manipulate you into making a decision – be it a purchase or a vote – that you wouldn’t have done otherwise, and without recourse or conclusive evidence that it was ever done.
The list of particular strings you are most responsive to is something that *everyone* should want to hide.