Know the value of your personal data when using websites such as Facebook and Google


James Moore, Managing Director of Bishop’s Stortford Genmar IT, writes for Indie …

In a world ruled by giant tech companies vying for your personal data, this begs the question: why are we giving it all away for free?

A common misconception is that using websites like Facebook or Google is free, but in reality we all pay with a different currency – our data.

Facebook derives 98% of its revenue from advertising, auctioning space for ads in its users’ feeds and stories. In 2020, Facebook generated $ 84 billion in total ad revenue, which works out to about $ 32 per person over the year.

That same year, Google made $ 104 billion from advertising revenue alone, which equates to $ 24 per person in the year.

So how much is your personal data worth? Not all personal data is born equal and the price of your data depends a lot on the demographic group you belong to.

Rather than being free, you pay with your personal data when you use sites such as Facebook and Google

For example, the price of data for someone aged 18-24 is higher than that of someone aged 25-34, largely because the older you are, the more your money is likely to be. tied up in invoices and other financial commitments.

The price again varies based on your average household income, and even differs based on your ethnicity and religion.

On average, the price a business will pay for a person’s personal data is around 15p, but can go up to 50p depending on what demographic you belong to.

It might not seem like much, but considering how many times your data is likely to be resold, the actual amount earned by data brokers would be significantly higher. A data broker is a person or business that specializes in collecting personal or business data and selling or licensing that information to third parties.

But the tide is changing. A recent entrepreneur from Dragons’ Den pioneered the idea of ​​a web browser that puts users back in control of their data by allowing consumers to profit from online advertisements by choosing what their data is sold on and being rewarded for. that. The company, Gener8, has received funding and is now live.

More and more regulations are being put in place to limit the amount of personal data stored and sold online, including GDPR changes implemented in 2018.

Most major internet browsers slowly block the use of third-party cookies which are used to track a user across multiple sites for behavioral targeting purposes. Google’s Chrome browser is set to abandon third-party cookies in 2023.

There are easy ways to control your privacy online, for example by making sure that your personal data is not accessible to the public. If your data is accessible to everyone then anyone can use it, then change your privacy settings on social media to only allow your friends to see your posts / data.

Likewise, do not share your email address or contact details online where they are accessible to everyone, such as forums or comment sections.

It is also important to have good cybersecurity habits, as it is not just legitimate companies that are looking for your personal data. Hackers can sell your personal data on the black market for a profit.

For more information and useful tips on protecting your data, visit our website at

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