Verizon announced this week that it will combine its data with AOL to create a huge pool of customer information. The information gathered will include browsing cookies, postal addresses, device types, Google advertising IDs and much more. But while this merger could be a bad deal for consumer privacy, it is still being positioned as a competitor to a company that already has all of our information: Facebook.
As Jason Kint writes in Recode, major tech companies including Facebook, Google and now Verizon seem to be ignoring consumer privacy concerns, continuing to track users across the web and work around ad blocking technology.
“Facebook, Google and now Verizon are instead accelerating their tracking efforts, despite privacy concerns appearing consistently in the top reasons for using an ad blocker,” Kint wrote. “They are in fast pursuit of the Holy Grail for digital advertising — syncing up a consumers’ personally-identifiable information with all browsing history and app usage.”
In many ways, Facebook pioneered the concept of tracking user activity on the web. When the social media giant rolled out its “Like” buttons on most major websites, it was effectively able to capture everything users do online. However, it’s troubling that this data gathering strategy now serves as a template for other major tech players to emulate.