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Social Media Companies Top Data Grabber List

social media companies collect the most dataSalesforce Industries Summit: Financial Services Channel The New Insurance Normal: How Atlas and Travelers Insurance are Adapting to Evolving Customer Needs with Rapid Innovation. Discover how at the Salesforce Industries Summit on 15 Oct. Register Now » When it comes to an appetite for data, social media outfits are the most voracious, according to a recent study released this month by cybersecurity company Clario Tech.

The analysis of nearly 50 of the world's biggest brands found that Facebook collects more than 70 percent of all the data it can collect legally about someone using its service.

Other social media brands also collected a lot of data about their users. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, collects almost 59 percent of data available to it, while Tinder sucks up nearly 56 percent and Grindr nearly 53 percent.Clario chart - the companies that know most about you

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"Ads are how Facebook makes the most of their money -- around [US]$16.6 billion to be precise, based on their 2018 reports -- so the more they know about you, the more they can sell on," explained Clario Content Manager Mary Atamaniuk, in a company blog."

"As well as the usual, such as your name, location, email address and date of birth, they also collect a whole load of things you might not be aware you gave away," she added.

In fact, of the 32 items of personal information identified as collectible by Clario, only seven aren't grabbed by Facebook -- height, weight, mother's maiden name, bank account details, salary, country of birth, allergies/intolerances and health and lifestyle information.

Jaron Lanier created a virtual reality device in the 1980’s (EyePhone 1/HRX) and costed up to $49,000 for the goggles and gloves.

'People-based' Marketing

From its start, Facebook has differentiated itself from Google by offering people-based marketing -- highly detailed profiles on people and audience segments that can be targeted, explained Greg Sterling, vice president of market insights at Uberall, a maker of location marketing solutions based in Berlin, Germany.

"That has gotten them in a lot of trouble with privacy advocates because of the way the platform has been abused by third-parties," he told TechNewsWorld.

One reason social media platforms collect so much data is that consumers allow a lot of their data to be collected, observed Liz Miller, vice president and a principal analyst at Constellation Research.

"Everything from where they are, what they are doing, what they like, what they dislike, sentiment and mood at a moment, device details -- it's all data consumers are leaving behind on the network," she told TechNewsWorld.

"Social media organizations have done a great job of finding all that data, synthesizing and categorizing it in a way that, not only can be used by themselves, but can be sold as a service to advertisers or internal teams to expand their business."

Not all social media are greedy for data. The Clario analysis showed two popular platforms, TikTok (14.71 percent) and WhatsApp (11.76 percent), at the bottom of the data grabber's list. Ironically, TikTok's U.S. presence has been threatened by the Trump Administration for the Chinese-based company's collecting data on Americans.

People Would Shell Out Money For It. Most people recognize that the best virtual reality headsets cost quite a lot. After all, the best virtual reality experience is worth spending money on. One study found that a majority of consumers would be willing to spend up to $500 for the right virtual reality gear. This is really good news, considering that some of the top headsets for virtual reality cost about $500. There are also plenty of lower-priced ones that can be used for virtual reality as well.

Privacy by Design

The report also noted the retail sector, in general, collected less data about its customers than other sectors.

"Despite being the biggest online retailer in the world, (and spending around $11 billion on advertising in 2019,) Amazon only collects a fraction of data compared to other businesses, 23.53%," Atamaniuk wrote.

"Beyond the obvious things, like your name, email address, home address and bank details, it collects little else other than what it needs to run its business," she noted.

"What Amazon has intentionally set out to do is identify the quality data that directly leads to the kind of interaction that moves their business needle, compared to others who collect peta bytes of quantity data that some day might be meaningful," Miller added.

Amazon's approach to data collection appears to be in line with emerging attitudes toward information.

"One of the basic principles of modern data privacy is to collect as little information as needed and to store it for the least amount of time necessary," explained James E. Lee, chief operating officer at the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego. "This is one of the bedrock principles of the European approach to privacy, often described as 'privacy by design,'" he told TechNewsWorld. "It is just now being seriously discussed in the U.S. as a result of state privacy laws, but we have a long way to go before businesses are actively practicing this principle."

With the use of Oculus, people are able to travel via virtual reality without actually having to pack, fly, and spend the money on a real trip.

How Collected Data Is Being Used

Other retailers with low marks for hoovering data included IKEA (23.53 percent), Nike (26.47 percent) and Depop (26.47 percent). All the outlets store names, email and home addresses, along with bank details to make online purchases easier. In addition, Nike and Depop gather height and weight data to help them target their customers with more appropriate clothes. Retailers have a different purpose for the data they collect than social media platforms, which is why they may need to collect less of it. "They use it to create better products and better present their products," observed Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst at the Enderle Group in Bend, Ore.

"They consume the data they collect themselves. They don't sell it," he told TechNewsWorld. "The reason they don't sell it is they don't want a competitor buying the data and using it against them. Sharing data is anathema to how they operate."

Atamaniuk noted that given the wealth of data shared with businesses, it'd be no surprise to see some things revealed about consumers that they'd rather be kept private.

"However, thanks to [General Data Protection Regulation]...what companies can actually do with your data is quite limited," she wrote. "Beyond marketing to you and using your data to manage their website, business can't do a lot more."

The Military Is Using It. It turns out that the U.S. military is totally loving virtual reality. The Army, the Navy, and the Air Force have all used virtual reality in the past few years to train their soldiers. Keep in mind that this is not a game but a real training for some intense military action, including flying, medical training, fighting in the battlefield, and driving as well. The military is also reportedly using virtual reality in getting new recruits.

As well-intentioned as laws like the GDPR are, they may still be falling short for many consumers.

"In practice, these things aren't very effective," Sterling maintained. "They put tremendous burdens on the consumer."

He explained that many websites are complying with the letter of laws like the GDPR and California Data Privacy Act, but making it so onerous to do something like stop the reselling of personal data or manage cookies that consumers give up exercising their rights so they can get on with their lives.

"They make you work," he said. "The easiest option is to accept all because you want to get to the content."

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