The New Social: Brands Are Embracing Private Sharing

?EU?Just because you?EU?re paranoid doesn?EU?t mean they aren?EU?t after you,?EU? wrote Joseph Heller in the novel Catch 22. But it is doubtful he envisaged that algorithms used by search engines, social media platforms and websites would be after you to ?EU?personalize your experience?EU?. Consequently, perhaps, personalization and privacy have taken a new direction with the shift to messaging as the go-to communication platform.

Search and social media platforms derive their income from advertising, so it makes sense for them to tailor what users see. Facebook?EU?s presentation at the AI Summit in San Francisco explained how artificial intelligence (AI) is used to personalize the pages of each of its 1.7 billion users.

How accurate -- or intrusive -- this is will be determined by our online activity. Connected devices and location data add context; Google?EU?s DoubleClick (which develops internet ad serving systems) take this further by combining personally identifiable information from Gmail with browsing data.

Slaves to the Algorithm

We have little or no control over the multiplicity of algorithms using our data, particularly as more devices become connected. Gartner predicts that by 2021, 20% of all activities an individual engages in will involve at least one of the top seven digital giants -- defined by revenue and market capitalization as Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.

Algorithms are skewing our perceptions and narrowing our perspective. Tailoring content to user preferences potentially compromises online research. Search engines and ad networks are fingerprinting devices in real time, so it is impossible to know how neutral your search results are. And because search results are based on browsing history, we are less likely to see something new. Added to this is the platforms?EU? own bias. The past few weeks have seen reports of Facebook?EU?s selective news curation and Google?EU?s perceived political bias towards Hillary Clinton?EU?s...

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