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Privacy… what privacy?

Earlier this year I became engaged to my partner of four years, but it only really struck me a few weeks ago how targeted my Facebook experience has now become.

Everything is wedding related.

As messages of congratulations have rolled in from friends and family abroad and perhaps keeping tabs on my web-browsing activity, I’m amazed by how much my news feed has changed.

Everything from suggestions for honeymoon destinations, romantic dinners for two and even tailors for tuxedos are now permanent fixtures on my feed.

I’ve never been one for updating my profile and I rarely “like” company pages, so I’m assuming Facebook monitors key words to serve contextual ads to me.

While these may be trivial matters, the point I’m trying to make is privacy for the average consumer is a losing battle, despite what the Hong Kong government may or may not do from 1 April onwards.

As an editor of a magazine which champions the marketing industry, it may seem at odds to say I’m still shocked about the privacy issues and how companies can seem to bombard your Facebook page.

My cousins in Southern New South Wales are in my feed promoting SimCity Social, without them having the faintest idea it is happening.

It is a conundrum I and billions of consumers worldwide struggle with on a daily basis.

Yes, smart advertisers are making good use of tracking technology to better serve ads and there’s a very real business case to support it.

But it does make me reconsider the type of information I send out, where I check-in, the photos I share and the companies I like.

So while the debate over big data, how it’s used and who should own it will no doubt rage on, I and every other consumer will have to accept the world – for better or for worse – has irrevocably changed.

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