How much information is in your online profile?

Published: Mar. 27, 2018 at 9:47 PM CDT
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For tech companies like Facebook and Google, data is everything.

"They are absolutely in the data business - that is it." says Bruce Rowley, managing partner at RSM Marketing.

For marketing companies like his, the data that Facebook and Google collect is incredibly valuable.

"If we're getting our data from somewhere like Facebook or if we're getting it from somewhere like Google, we're not buying a name - we're buying a profile." he says.

It's those profiles that they use to target the ads you see online, and they're built from nearly everything you do on the internet.

"It's every search, every voice command, every phone number that you've called, every place you went, every map that you've mapped."

For an eye-opening look at how much data we willingly give away, you need look no further than one of the biggest data collectors out there - Google.

Just visit their

page and take a look at what Google knows about you - everything from search history, visited web pages, and even physical locations you've visited dating back years.

And that's just one company.

"I think people generally like to live on the belief that, yeah I know I'm giving it all away, but I like what I'm getting in return - and I hope that the people gathering all of this won't use it for bad." says Rowley.

But the situation with Facebook misusing thousands of users data has many looking at ways to limit the amount that they share.

"The first thing you can do is pay close attention to the data you're actively giving away - and then from there you can kind of work backwards to start asking yourself the question, what conveniences am I willing to accept and what data am I willing to give away for that convenience?"

That means adjusting the privacy settings on your favorite platforms, and being mindful of what apps you allow to connect.

"Why do we care? Well because I don't want to have to log into this website and set up all my information when I can just click login with Facebook. What I'm really doing there is making a trade - the convenience for ALL of my Facebook information."

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