We’ve all experienced this: one second you’re watching a product review on YouTube and the next you see an advert for exactly that product in your Instagram feed.
While it still feels like some kind of dark magic is at work there, we’ve pretty much gotten used to this type of thing by now – even though there are instances when it still feels a bit spooky, especially when you’re certain you’ve only talked about a product or mentioned it in a personal message.
The truth of the matter is, as Statista’s Felix Richter notes, the apps and websites we’re using collect vast amounts of data about us, and, in many cases, this data is even passed on to third parties. This of course, shouldn’t happen without permission, which is why we usually have to agree to a long list of terms and conditions before using an app. (And honestly, when is the last time you’ve read these before clicking yes?)
Last year, Apple made it a bit easier for consumers to understand what kind of data apps collect and how that data is being used. The company introduced privacy labels to apps in its App Store, categorizing personal data into 14 categories ranging from user location to purchases, search and browsing history and contact information.