By Chris Conroy
KFVS12 Vice President and General Manager
It's become an American pastime as important to our culture as baseball and grandma's apple pie. I'm not talking about a new sport, I'm talking about Facebook.
It seems that everyone is still talking about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's congressional hearings last week. There were many "A-ha Moments" during the two-day grilling Zuckerberg endured. What stood out to me is how out of touch many of our lawmakers are with how the internet and social media works. At one point, Bill Nelson, the Democratic Senator from Florida talked about communicating with friends about a love for a certain kind of chocolate. Then as if it were something devious, he started receiving advertisements for chocolate.
Does Facebook track us? The answer is yes. Why is it a surprise to any of us that social media and internet providers can track us? It actually goes way beyond Facebook. Anyone who uses the internet has experienced it.
There are consumer advantages to this tracking. Hypothetically, If I were to Google "new tires for my car," chances are for the next couple of days, the ads on sites I visit will show me local tire dealers and, in many instances, show me special discounts to get me to choose a certain dealer. Yes, it reminds me sometimes of Big Brother from the book "1984." But if the ad can save me money on an item I plan to purchase, then it can actually benefit me.
There are ways to limit how much of your information is collected by apps such as Facebook. But at this point the only way to stop being tracked on the internet is not to use it. And that means staying behind the times.
Understanding how it works, embracing technology and how it can benefit us makes this A Better Heartland.