Against All Odds
Why Big Data isn’t your friend’
We’re now used to hearing about privacy concerns when it comes to Google, Facebook, and others. These internet giants know more and more intimate details about us – sometimes more than we know ourselves.
For instance, Facebook apparently knows if we are likely to break up with our boyfriend or girlfriend before we’ve made the final call, based on factors like how often we view profiles of the opposite sex. Scary stuff.
And if this knowledge is power, then these companies are growing more powerful by the day. Facebook infamously did an experiment showing if they skewed your feed towards negative posts, you were more likely to make a negative post yourself. They literally admitted they can manipulate your emotions (even if the effect was minor, and they kind of apologised later).
Another little-discussed effect is that the advertising isn’t just getting more intrusive (or ‘creepy’), it’s more persuasive. The more companies know about us, the more they can target their advertising messages towards us in a way that makes us more likely to buy. Of course, that’s not new, it’s just good marketing – but it’s reaching new levels of sophistication. One banking executive recently discussed the idea of using facial recognition to read consumers’ moods in-store, and connecting this to their purchase data so they could determine how you felt when buying something. In turn, they would report this back to retailers. Combine this with Facebook’s potential to manipulate your mood in the first place, and it’s all starting to look like a little like you’re an unwilling participant in The Truman Show.
That’s the problem, isn’t it? Getting relevant ads is one thing, but organisations having the immense power of data behind them is starting to really stack the odds against you. You may have your own goals, but you’re going to be subject to their increasingly manipulative tactics to get you to align your behaviour with what they want you to do (and ‘they’ includes governments, by the way). Generally speaking, that means spending your money with them – whether you initially planned to or not.
What’s needed are tools that use the power of big data to help you make financial decisions that are in your own best interests – not forking out on impulse purchases or racking up consumer debt. What’s needed is a solution that understands your goals and uses data analytics to edge you closer to those goals in as short a timeframe as possible. What’s needed is… Nudge. It’s going to be live imminently on the App Store®, so make sure you’ve signed up below to be notified.