Targeted Advertisements

Targeted Advertisements
By Anonymous | May 28, 2021

Over the years as smartphones have become smarter and technology has become more prevalent, the fear of being listened to has risen significantly. Whether people believe they are being listened to through their phones or through the smart technology in their house, there exists a widespread notion of some third-party listening in. One of the larger supporting arguments of being listened to is through targeted advertisements. These are ads uniquely directed towards users. It is no secret that targeted advertisements have become very popular, scaring many about their privacy. Yet, people still don’t truly understand how they come about, so I am here to tell you that it is very possible that your phone is listening to you or collecting your information! The intention of this post is to inform people of why they “randomly” get targeted advertisements and how they could take some action to maintain their privacy.

Why do I get targeted advertisements?
When logging into any social media, it is common to see relevant advertisements, making phone users question how such a thing could be possible. Most individuals who have smartphones typically have a wide variety of applications, with some being social media and some being random third-party made apps. Many of these applications and even websites visited on a browser typically provide a few questions to the user, such as “Do you accept cookies” or “Do you grant this application microphone access”. Without a second thought, we are often quick to accept such terms. Yet, they are unaware of the fact that such permissions are the reason for their targeted advertisements on social media. When accepting cookies from a website, we essentially provide some data to the companies behind the websites, such as our location. When providing microphone access to certain smartphone applications, research has shown that certain companies harvest a lot of data by simply eavesdropping through your microphone and providing ads. Sometimes, we accidentally provide personal information about ourselves through online services. Additionally, it isn’t too difficult for companies to purchase data from other third-party data and research companies. Scary, huh? You might be wondering what the point of targeted advertisements is and what companies would do with your data. Well, it’s like any other company, website, or application. By inhaling user data, these companies are able to create a greater chance of success with targeted advertisements, allowing them to obtain a potential lead, as in yourself. Overall, there are several ways that companies are able to collect your data: cookies, social media tracking, purchasing data from third-party data companies, and asking you personally. There are all sorts of opportunities for your data to get out there.

How do I maintain my privacy?
There are several precautions you can take on the note of privacy & protecting your data. I believe it is a good idea for everyone to go through their smart phone’s settings and take a few moments to go through the settings for each application downloaded. Make sure all the permissions and app settings are just how you want them and ensure that you aren’t providing any unnecessary permissions. For instance, certain gaming applications on the phone may not need microphones, but could definitely ask for access in the settings. Additionally on the web, be mindful of the websites you visit and cookies you allow them to store. On a regular basis, it is a good idea to clear your device’s cookies & cache to protect your privacy. These days, there is a lot of our data out there and many opportunities for companies to obtain that data through loopholes. It is important for us to take the necessary measures in order to protect our data and maintain our privacy.


  • Forbes – Of Course Your Phone Is Listening To You
  • Spiralytics – Mobile Ads: Can Your Phone Hear Your Conversations?
  • Medium – Why Do We See Ads For Things We Just Talked About?