Is Internet Advertising Becoming Too Intrusive?

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Do you ever find yourself browsing the internet only to see your screen completely inundated with ad after ad? Ever notice that these ads are eerily targeted towards what you’ve recently searched in your browser? Well, you’re certainly not alone. Internet advertising is only getting more obnoxious, pervasive, and downright obnoxious. This, however, is the reality of the internet. You are the product, and there is much money to be made off views.

Google, Facebook, and YouTube…these extremely popular and heavily trafficked sites all have one thing in common: they are free to use. The way these major internet companies make money off their services is by collecting massive amounts of data, which is then turned into highly targeted advertising resulting in billions of dollars in ad revenue.

In a survey conducted by Kantar Millward Brown of internet users in the United States, 71% of respondents said they believe ads have become too intrusive, affecting their overall internet browsing experience. Not only does this reflect the sentiment of the American public, but we are also becoming more aware of our privacy (or lack thereof) while surfing the internet. It is an eerie feeling to know that every time you are on the internet, the websites you use are slowly but steadily gathering data to build a profile of you and constantly updating it to keep up with your perceived interests and desires.

Google has admitted that it has access to “70 percent of credit and debit card transactions in the United States.” In addition, it employes secretive tracking technologies that are hidden from plain view, but run in the background when you are on the internet, allowing them to sift through massive amounts of data to dictate which ads are targeted toward you.

Even more alarming, there have been numerous reports of people claiming that their mobile devices are listening in on conversations, after immediately seeing ads on their social media feeds and search engines regarding the very topic they were just speaking about. While Google and Facebook have both denied using cell phone microphones to collect data for targeted ads, there are many reports of it still happening.

All of these instances of targeted ads are troubling to say the least; it begs the question of how privacy is upheld on the internet. Without that ad revenue, major Internet-based companies would be unable to provide their extremely powerful search engine services for free. While intrusive internet ads don’t seem to be going away anytime soon, can we see a future when the power is placed back in the hands of the consumer when it comes to their privacy? You decide…

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