How and Why to Avoid Social Media While Expecting a Child

Sergei VolfHelpful Tips

Expecting Parents Ad Targeting

How Companies Break Down The Data Used

This post is part of a three blog post series on the risk of oversharing online

It’s proving more difficult to keep your children out of the data collecting claws of the internet. Once social media sites, ad agencies, and Google have this information, it’s nearly impossible to get it back. It’s no surprise why more people are choosing to opt out of posting picture updates of their pregnancy online.

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Data breaches, advertisers selling data on your pregnancy to partners, and online tracking, are persuading many to seek alternatives. Today, it might seem to people that we’re simply a product for data collection. However, it might not be as easy as you think. Ads and targeted ads are not necessarily malicious, yet they can still feel like they infringe on your personal security.

Why Am I Seeing This Ad?

You might have heard the joke of when you think about something, but never search for it, somehow the ad appears in your social media or Google timeline. The truth is, it’s not a coincidence. Facebook, Google, and others target ads based on pages you follow, posts you like or emotionally react to — yes, Facebook emotion reacts are for ad placements. Ads are also based on location. If you cruise past a Porsche dealership or work near a sub sandwich shop, ads will generate to target you.

Facebook breaks ads down into four categories. These areas include activity across Facebook companies and products, your activity with other businesses, activity on other websites and apps, and your location.

Your activity across Facebook companies and products — This includes not only the pages you like but the pages your friends like, too. The information in these ads is generated from your Facebook and Instagram profile or places you check into while using the apps.

Your Activity With Other Businesses — Sharing personally identifiable information is almost impossible not to do, but almost always the information that shows up in a data breach. When you add your name, email address, or phone number, a company can store this on a customer list. Based on this, Facebook will try to match ads to your profile.

Your Activity on Other Websites and Apps — Websites you visit and the apps you use to send information to Facebook. Companies use something called a Pixel. This small amount of code is inserted into many webpages. This can help a company predict what certain customers will do. This amount of information gathered helps Facebook create targeted audiences.

Examples of this include viewing a t-shirt that says something about maternity on it, a new father downloading a related app, and pretty much everything else.

Your Location — Facebook allows advertisers to have access to location data. This data consists of where someone connects to the internet. For example, don’t connect to free wifi in a maternity shop. Avoid these types of ads when you turn off location services on Facebook. This can be found within your phone’s settings.

Additionally, ensure that the apps on your phone are not connected to your Facebook account. If you see an ad on Facebook that seems off, click on “Why Am I Seeing This Ad.” Facebook will then show you why. Some ads are based on the apps installed on your phone and their settings.

Tips To Avoid Ads When Searching Online

Regardless, new parents need information and there is no shortage of it. There are apps, Facebook groups, Twitter pages, Pinterest accounts, Instagrams, websites, and much more. All of these have one common thread, and that is ads. Ads upon ads, with diapers, cribs, car seats, and scentless lotions. In some cases, turning off cookies or other ways to track you might make a website not work properly, even Incognito mode has its limitations. There are several free ways you can avoid the internet learning every aspect of your pregnancy or child.

  • Use DuckDuck Go as your web browser. DuckDuckGo’s foundation is to protect searchers privacy. The browser is available on iOS, Android, and personal computers.
  • Download Tor. Tor is free software and an open network to help defend against traffic analysis. Tor defined traffic analysis as a form of network surveillance that can threaten the security of confidential business.
  • Switch to an iOS device. Studies found that an Android with Chrome sent location data to Google 340 times during a 24-hour period. The study concluded that the data allowed Google to identify user interests.
  • Use cash or gift cards while shopping.
  • Google claims to not scan e-mails sent in G-mail anymore for ad-targeting. If you still feel uneasy, switch to free ZoHo Mail, or paid ProtonMail.

Fortunately, Facebook allows you to turn off specific types of ads for either six months, one year, or permanently. These settings can be found within your Ad Preferences page. The topics users can hide include alcohol, parenting, and pets. Hiding the ads will not prevent or stop the company from collecting your data though.

Conclusion:

Like almost everything, use common sense while shopping online. It’s not easy to hide from the companies but turning location services off, disabling social media, and considering what pages you interact with, can help eliminate some of the data they collect.

Why should you consider going through such a process? Data breaches. If anything, recent news stories on breaches should be enough to let you know that companies are not handling or managing your data safely. If you want to avoid identity theft or information on yourself, your soon to be baby, or current child from being sold to companies,s then taking data collection elimination steps are necessary. You can read our next post by clicking here.

Worried about a data breach of your company, or worried about identity theft? SecureForensics can help. Call us for a free phone consultation at 1-800-288-1407.