Online advertising has taken the web by a storm. 10 years ago, you might have seen a few online ads here and there, but these days they’re all over the place. You’d be hard pressed to find a website that doesn’t display ads today, and more often than not these ads are specifically targeted to things that ad companies think you might be interested in. With the use of social media increasing in people across the world, a unique opportunity for advertisers has begun to emerge. For the first time ever, ad companies don’t have to make a guess about what you’re interested in, because you tell them. When signing up for a social media website, like Facebook, every page you “like”, every interest, hobby, and skill you put on your page is sent off to advertisers by Facebook, in an attempt to connect you with the brands that you’re interested in. While this is a very exciting time for advertisers, some consumers don’t feel the same way.
In recent years, people have been starting to think more about what kind of online presence they have, and how much privacy they really have online. We do everything online these days, from shopping on Amazon, sending email in Gmail, to chatting with friends on Facebook, but do we really know how much information about ourselves these companies are keeping? For the majority of people online, the answer is no. The average person doesn’t think twice about their privacy online, and how much information is being gathered them, from the brands they like, the online stores they shop at, and the people they interact with on Facebook.
One way to block advertisements and data from being collected on your browsing habits is to install an ad blocker and disable Internet cookies on your computer. I personally do this, as I find most ads to be intrusive and annoying. There are a few different solutions available for this, but I find that a program called Ad Blocker is the easiest. Just a few clicks and you’re done; no more ads will be displayed online and you’ll be a little bit safer online.