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The Mission Chronicle

The Mission Chronicle

Does Social Media Track You?

Jada Thomas

Maybe you’re sitting in school thinking or talking about racing and the next time you open Instagram or Tik Tok you’re looking at nonstop car and racing videos. This is what makes people wonder; does your phone track you and pay attention to your conversations? 

There are ways Instagram tracks your activity that can be turned off, like showing others when you’re active. But when you see things on Instagram or Facebook straight out of an actual spoken conversation that you had, your flags are raised, you look over your shoulder and wonder if you’re actually being spied on. 

Instagram is a popular social media platform used by millions of people worldwide. Instagram uses information to personalize your “For you” page to fit your interests and show you personalized ads and videos.  

Facebook and instagram may not be eavesdropping by listening to conversations but they are definitely still eavesdropping. Ways of discovering your interests consist of using 100% of your digital footprint to find information.

That can mean tracking your location to see where you’ve been to tracking your searches to see what your interests are.

Some apps get even more personal information. Clario, a VPN website research, showed that “6.25% of apps save your face and voice on their database,” (Andriy Slynchuk, 2023). 

If you have ever researched racing and mention it to a friend, maybe they check your friend’s location and see he was standing next to you. He may receive a couple racing ads too, just from being near you. 

A 9th grader, Jojo Williams, says that every time he opens Instagram, he is flooded with ads about basketball and football. This is what he talks about often so he thinks instagram is “listening.” 

Another 9th grader, Omari Steuben, says that Instagram seems to know what he’s thinking, not just ads but his instagram reels seem to reflect how he’s feeling.

The idea of social media listening to our conversations is eerie, but knowing they don’t end knowing that they track every other part of our online lives isn’t any better. Instagram uses AI to cross reference your data and create an algorithm to sell you things.

When you think about how much effort they put into keeping tabs on you, Instagram must make millions off simply making personalized ads for their users. Ways to limit the amount of tracking social media does on you is to turn off your location sharing, however using the app in any way will give them more than enough information to gather information about you. 

Every time you go online you’re giving up your privacy to everyone. Even if something says that it’s ”private” or “deleted” there’s always ways to find it. You may wonder what the purpose of tracking you is. The answer is money. Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, etc. all use the same data collecting tactics to sell you things. 

Overall the only way to stop social media from tracking you is to delete them. 

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About the Contributor
Ramon Macdonald, Staff Writer
Ramon Macdonald is a freshman.
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