It has been reported that Facebook manipulates people’s time line to see if they could influence their mood. While intentionally trying to influence people is a dramatic step, widespread user tracking means what we see and do online is already changed to influence our behaviour. The internet is filtered and user behaviour is altered, often without the user realising.
A Facebook feed is dominated by those who the user interacts with more rather than a simple timeline. While it seems practical, there are claims the personalised internet is limiting debate, closing people off from opposing points of view and perhaps even missing vital information. It may not be so dramatic but if you want to escape from the “bubble” as some have taken to calling the filtered internet, here are a few simple steps.
Cookies are packets of information left on your computer that send data to services, so they can track your activities. They have their uses but if you want to avoid targeted advertising, altered search engine results as well as numerous security risks. It’s a good idea to regularly delete cookies. You can also change your browser settings to limit their number. Cookies can even undermine any anonymising tools that you’re using.
Use Services that Don’t Track
There are many services that take their users privacy seriously, some of them may not have all the features of their big name competitors but are well worth trying out. DuckDuckGo, is a great no track alternative search engine. We have mentioned it before but it’s growing in influence as it continues to add features. Many browsers now offer a no track setting that tells websites not to track you, but it still isn’t as secure as services committed to not tracking you.
Limit Sharing Personal Data
It’s a low tech solution, but Google, Facebook and other big names monitor everything from keyword searches to what likes you give. All to create a picture of your activity and target products.
The less about you that is online, the less they can use. It sounds like a difficult solution considering how much of our lives is online and not everyone want to disappear completely off the internet. A few simple adjustments such as updating your settings on any service to maximum privacy or switching to new tools that prioritise privacy will improve your online experience and security.
How do you protect your privacy?