How Internet Advertisers Read Your Mind

How Internet Advertisers Read Your Mind


Isn’t it annoying how targeted ads haunt
you wherever you go and whatever you do? As for me, I usually filter them in my mind,
not paying attention to what they say, but some time ago they really started giving me
the creeps. So I decided to investigate the issue and
I actually found some disturbing stuff. I hope the results of my inquiry will help
you too. You see, like everyone else, I’m used to
getting targeted ads in my browser after each and every search session. That’s not really surprising: after all,
I’m spilling all the beans myself — if I need a new ironing board, for instance,
the first thing I do is go search where I can find one. Ads go crazy after that, suggesting companies
I’ve never heard of and offering “best deals ever.” And that’s okay, that’s how they work. But not so long ago, I accidentally left an
empty pan on the hot stove and went to work. It was a miracle that my apartment didn’t
burn up, but the pan was beyond saving, of course. I told my girlfriend about this accident when
she came over that night, and made a mental note to buy a new pan. The next morning, when I opened the browser
on my phone, the first thing I saw was an ad of some kitchen utensil store brandishing
a thumbnail… with a pan in it. To say I was dumbfounded would be a huge understatement. I hadn’t searched the web for a new pan
yet; I didn’t mention anything about my mishap on Facebook or Twitter or any other
social media; heck, I didn’t even call anyone! All I did was tell my girlfriend, and that
was it. How in the world could my phone know I needed
a new pan?! I admit, at first I thought it was just a
crazy coincidence. But then I started noticing this happening
more often. I would talk about a coming business trip
with my friends, and then my browser would pop travel agency and airline ads on my phone
screen. That was downright creepy. Something had to be done, so I started my
investigation. First things first: I learned that advertisers
follow you everywhere. Literally. For example, if you pass by, say, a bank,
you’ll most likely soon get a targeted ad of this same bank and probably even with this
same address. This happens because companies install special
Wi-Fi routers in their offices that have a wider range of operation. When you go about your business, your phone
is busy too: it’s constantly scanning the networks around it, sending signals to every
possible connection point. So you pass by a bank with a special router
in it, your phone sends its signal, and voila! The bank has your phone’s digital ID! It’s not a huge piece of info, nothing personal
can be stolen from you, but that’s still enough to send you targeted ads. The good thing here is that only larger companies
can afford such a method of targeting — the cost of equipment along with the price tag
on the ad itself is too high for smaller businesses. But still, it’s unsettling to know that
your own phone gives away your location to anyone who asks. Traitor. On a broader scale, advertisers may use geo
tags to target you. These tags are basically points on the map,
and when you happen to be within a certain distance from one of these points, you start
getting specific ads. And it’s even easier to get to you personally
if you use public Wi-Fi networks. When you connect to Wi-Fi on the public transport,
you voluntarily give away information about yourself and where you’re heading, so ads
on your phone will adjust themselves and give you places along your route. Another thing you should be wary of is the
so-called “matching.” Like everyone else, I’m using different
apps on my phone, and I admit, I never really read the end user agreement. Who does? But perhaps I should start paying more attention
to it. The thing is, apps often collect your offline
data and send it to advertisers. The best example I can think of is a fitness
tracker. You allow this device or app access to your
phone, and it begins doing its job immediately. Things like your heart rate, the distance
you covered on this or that day — pretty sensitive stuff, if you ask me, — all this
goes to some third party, and you gave your express permission for that. So, I mentioned matching — here’s where
it comes into play. When an app you’ve given permissions to
sends your info to advertisers, it’s matched with the offers they can throw at you and
you in particular. Let’s say you like to run in a certain park,
and there’s a new apartment building somewhere nearby. Most likely you’ll start receiving ads urging
you to buy an apartment by that exact address. Your tracker has just betrayed you — it’s
sent your GPS data to advertisers, and their system matched your favorite location with
an offer from a company in their database. In a way, it’s even better than geo tagging
because it’s more personalized. But if you’re like me, it’ll just annoy
you all the more for that. Okay, I’ve covered almost everything, and
now the big one’s coming. Remember my story about the pan and then the
business trip? Well, I was shocked to find out that my phone
really is listening to me. And yours too! If you have a smartphone and use any social
media at all, you’re already trapped. You see, social media apps require access
to many of your phone’s functions, including your microphone. That makes sense: if you want to make stories
or videos with sound, you’ll need the app to hear you. But by giving this permission, you automatically
let it listen to you even when you don’t intend to record anything. This is not some speculation, mind you. During my investigation, I’ve stumbled upon
an article by Sam Nichols, a freelance journalist, who was concerned about the same thing I was. And he managed to get to the bottom of it. In short, he learned that social media apps
have verbal triggers, or voice commands, that activate them to record you and then send
the things you say to advertisers. The simplest parallel here is Google or iOS:
they start listening to you when you say “OK Google” or “Hey Siri” out loud. With social media, though, no one really knows
what their triggers are and how many there are of them out there. To prove this theory, Nichols conducted an
experiment and started saying random things to his phone that could potentially be triggers. He did that for 5 days, and then looked closely
whether his feed had changed — namely, the sponsored posts. I can’t imagine how taken aback he was when
he saw that all the ads switched to something related to what he had been saying to the
phone. I mean, he’d said things like “I need
a new T-shirt” or “I’m thinking of going back to uni,” and literally the next day
his feed presented him with clothing store ads and posts about courses at different universities. I don’t know about you, but for me this
discovery was really disturbing. Now it all made sense, the pan and the airplane
tickets — my social media apps simply recorded me saying those things and sold them to some
advertiser. I know there are methods to protect myself
from such occurrences, but unfortunately there’s no foolproof way to fully exclude targeted
ads from my life. But on the bright side, this collection of
data is more or less innocent (well, unless you focus your attention on apps secretly
spying on your conversations). The only third parties receiving your info
are advertisers, and there’s nothing too personal in there. The things you say are anonymized, which means
they can’t be traced back to you. Your words become a code that is sent to the
servers. So no one really knows it was you who said
this or that thing. The system just finds the tracks your phone
has left and uses them for its own benefit. I can totally relate to you, though, if you
still think it’s creepy. Okay, in conclusion to my story here, like
I said, there are ways to protect yourself if you don’t want ads to go barging into
your personal space. Most important of them all is a VPN, or virtual
private network. It’s a perfectly legal means to hide your
presence in the web and prevent others from snooping around in your private business online. Getting a VPN is basically like purchasing
your own parking spot on the Internet: whatever the trouble, you always have a safe place
to return to. Advertisers won’t be able to track your
actions, so highly targeted ads will be out of the question. Also, if you want to turn ads off completely,
there’s legal ad blocking software and browser extensions as well. They’re no magic bullets, of course, and
some information will still get through, but you’ll certainly see much less ads than
you used to. Well, I hope my investigation has been of
some use to you! Do you have any more practical advice on how
to get rid of annoying ads? Let me know down in the comments! If you learned something new today, then give
this video a like and share it with a friend. But – hey! – don’t go anywhere just
yet! We have over 2,000 cool videos for you to
check out. All you have to do is pick the left or right
video, click on it, and enjoy! Stay on the Bright Side of life!

100 COMMENTS

    I noticed the weird coincidences of ads popping up on things I was having a conversation about in a room of people

    That is tremendously freaky and stalker type Behavior that's why I leave my phone home all the time and less necessary also I found out that Alexa is recording you and then sending your information to god-knows-where

    From all the things you found out about Smart phones, it makes me very happy that I only have a home phone!!

    Guys is it ok if i only think of going on a date and my phone shows ads like places for dates near ****

    Lies! I got a windows 7 HP laptop at wal-mart the night before windows 8 came out. I can check the datebut I know this because my computer had just quit and no one else, Best Buy or office max would sell me a computer. I thought this was crazy. With my HP laptop. I started noticing mundane things it would show in my ads. Examples: I told my hubby he was dressed like Johnny Cash, but just needed the hat. That style hat showed up. I told my child that I have ground oatmeal in the medicine cabinet, and how to put a little in the palm of the hand and drizzle some water from the spigot, make a paste and apply to the face. A hand full of whole oatmeal under a running spigot showed up. My nephew was playing but water in out yard on mother's day, I told him to get the yellow rain boots so he would not ruin his shoes and yellow rain boots showed up in my ads. I teach at a pool and told the class about the hat episode and hats show up again. A male friend told me on my landline how he got a shave with a straight razor, joking I said "that's hawt!" and for several week my ads depicted blondish guy's getting shaved with a straight razor. Every time I donate to Salvation Army I get their ad. This need regulated since we almost exclusively have to use the internet to our bills and it is very hard to do without internet access. I have screen captures of the above mentioned, these were from 6-7 yrs ago.

    it would be helpful if you mentioned which VPN companies are the more reputable, etc., so that people don't get ripped off by going with a cheaper company that may actually be run by a scam artist.

    I remember when I would always search "Unikitty" on Google, then a while later, I got an ad on YouTube about Unikitty, how creepy is THAT? O_O

    Well are you spying me too?
    Because im searching why i almost get ads on the internet?
    And this is the answer 😅

    Yesterday I went to a restaurant now I'm getting ads of various restaurant that are giving more offers 😅

    Bruh my YouTube knows I like kpop and want to lose weight so it gives me bts ads (I’m a blink though) and diet plans 😐

    This happens to me I will talk abt something to someone and then I get hundreds of adds for that item it’s crazy

    So, yesterday I was wondering the same thing as you were, and now this video is in my recommendations…

    pan story is nothing compared to this. i used to cranky my willy in the shower daily. very carefully never spilling water on my ipad. Then after i was done the next ad that popped up was a cartoon commerical of a ipad getting wet in a shower!!! the thumbnail was for a water proof case!!!!

    to some , it is more as a helper. . . as like '' Jeeves '' the butler. the one whom listens to what you say that you need.
    for innocent and clean stuff.

    so there is no need in being alarmed, i mean. . . YOU did mention it after all.

    Alexa is even worse, that's like a digital Ouija board, also wrap youre phone in foil when not using it.

    Well i was sad couse i wan't a new school that will unthere stand there srudent then this add just shiw up say that this school will let you be yourself

    Why do we not get payed for our information? Possibly a % each month it would help us get some money and help the advertiziors sell more things. We may not be so upset about losing our information then. On the Bright Side !

    TIMESTAMPS:
    Oh, my gosh… How did they know?! 0:51
    They follow you everywhere. Literally. 2:01
    And your own phone is a traitor 2:50
    Be careful with public Wi-Fi networks 3:07
    What your apps actually do 3:37
    Your phone really is listening to you! 😱 5:05
    How to protect yourself 7:51

    This has happened to me alot, I said I need a vacuum, and it appeared in every add for a week, wanted to travel, travel ads, I said to a friend I can't find sexy one piece, month later, all my ads are that. Of course a few I searched like bathing suits, travel. But some I just said it, while holding my phone. Personally I like it. I don't have to search, for the right word for a product, just poof it's there, and I search about it.

    I was thinking for how long will Bright Side last as an YouTube channel. I mean, you know what, everything comes to an end…

    I once said, as a joke, to a friend who was annoying me to go to Peru. 2 hoyrs later I got air fares and accommodation in….Peru. Now Peru might be a nice place but I have no real interest to go there. Where I really wanna go is Scandinavia but my phone hasn't picked that up yet.

    I was in a department store looking at bras. I never said i was going there to anyone just or look online. Just thinking about it. Then i got heaps of buy bras online. How did phone know where i was on store

    OMFG! Cookies exist!! 😫😫😫😫
    Get rid of your AI google home bug
    Your TV your phone maybe even your fridge! Deep State is LISTENING

    Wait
    Youtube is considered Social Media…
    O.o
    No wonder I get so many adds on games when I search up my favourite gaming youtubers O.o
    But then I search up Harry Potter and nothing comes up in my adds

    "My wife asked me why I was speaking so softly at home. I told her I was afraid Mark Zuckerberg was listening! She laughed. I laughed. Alexa laughed. Siri laughed."

    omg i didnt even know about that which is so creepy……maybe i should be grateful that my parents wont let me a phone even though im 13 and everyone has one…….

    Google is the greatest internet crawler. They knew everything from you. Their algorithms are getting smarter.

    When you said "hey google" in the video. My phone literally paused the video and responded with google..

    They are listening. Period. Had a Conversation with my daughter. About Shower curtain liners. Odd enough to be noticed. No research, no change in location. Just a conversation. Next morning. Phone adds… shower curtain liners! I am not on any social networks. No not use voice command feature…. it’s listening.

    Same happened to me and mom we just talked about buying vaccum cleaners and when i go online it's showing in fb…

    Bright side that is just the algaridem of the social media affiliate marketing they are so many reason why the social media spys on people bright side do you know that is how Amaricans find evedans on other countries by using social media to spy on your ever movements

    All of these facts are quite disturbing, I agree. Moreover, we are going to have a less private life as time passes and even our personal lives are going to be almost transparent for businesses and not only. But let's not view advertising and marketing only from their bad sides. Yes, we get tired and scared of ads but those same ads sometimes become the reason we buy something that we wanted and couldn't find.
    Generally speaking, advertising is an essential part of any business and businesses create our economy.
    Successful businesses make a developed economy.
    The bottom line is that ads are crucial to development and yes, as stated in the video, you have the opportunity to choose not to be part of that.

    MY GOOGLE ASSISTANCE RESPOND WHEN YOU SAY THE OKAY GOOGLE AT @6:10 BECAUSE I USE THE CAST SCREEN ON TV THATS WHY THE GOOGLE ASSISTANT IS TRIGGERED. UNBELIEVABLE.😱

    The trigger word could be "I" "I need" "I want " "I'm looking for " they all have I so let's start taking in the third person around our devices like "she wants" "he likes" "she's looking for" and let's see how that works out for us

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