Breaking Down the Business of Metadata: How Social Media Monetizes Your Information

1 min read
Your Data, Their Profit: How Social Media Monetizes Your Metadata
(Photo by cottonbro studio)

Social media businesses have found a new way to monetize their users: by collecting and selling their metadata. Metadata is information about the data, such as the location of a photo, the time it was taken, or who is in it. While this information may seem harmless, it can be used to target users with specific ads and create detailed profiles of their behavior and interests.

One way social media businesses are collecting metadata is through the use of tracking cookies. These small files are placed on a user’s device when they visit a website, and they collect information about their browsing history and behavior. This information can then be used to target ads and create detailed profiles of users.

Another way social media businesses are collecting metadata is through the use of mobile apps. Many apps collect information about a user’s location, device type, and usage patterns. This information can be used to target ads and create detailed profiles of users.

To stop social media businesses from collecting and selling your metadata, there are a few steps you can take.

First, you can use a browser extension or app that blocks tracking cookies. These tools will prevent social media businesses from collecting information about your browsing history and behavior.

Second, you can adjust your privacy settings on your mobile device. Many apps ask for permission to access your location, contacts, and other information. You can deny these permissions, or limit the amount of information that is shared.

Third, you can use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your internet connection. This will make it more difficult for social media businesses to collect information about your browsing history and behavior.

Fourth, you can also use an ad-blocker in browsers and mobile apps to block unwanted ads.

Finally, you can be more cautious about the apps and websites you use and the information you share. Before downloading an app, read its privacy policy and be aware of the information it is collecting. On social media, be mindful of the information you share and who can see it.

Summary

Social media businesses are finding new ways to monetize their users, including by collecting and selling their metadata. However, there are steps you can take to protect your privacy and stop them from collecting and selling your information. By using tracking cookie blockers, adjusting privacy settings, using VPNs, and ad-blockers, and being cautious about the apps and websites you use, you can take control of your data and protect your privacy.