Creepy Marketers Are Studying Your Selfies

What is privacy again?

Wall Street Journal reports that marketing companies are specifically targeting social media as a means of gathering information about us for advertisers. We knew this was happening, right?

Well, the added layer is that marketers are looking at your photos for product placement. You're not human; you're just a case study. WSJ writes:

Most users of popular photo-sharing sites like Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest know that anyone can view their vacation pictures if shared publicly.

But they may be surprised to learn that a new crop of digital marketing companies are searching, scanning, storing and repurposing these images to draw insights for big-brand advertisers.

Some companies, such as Ditto Labs Inc., use software to scan photos—the image of someone holding a Coca-Cola can, for example—to identify logos, whether the person in the image is smiling, and the scene's context. The data allow marketers to send targeted ads or conduct market research.

Are selfies not sacred?

It shouldn't really come as a surprise that some of these app companies agree to exchange information with marketers for the sake of potential ad money and that they're not transparent about it:

Privacy watchdogs contend these sites aren't clearly communicating to users that their images could be scanned in bulk or downloaded for marketing purposes. Many users may not intend to promote, say, a pair of jeans they are wearing in a photo or a bottle of beer on the table next to them, the privacy experts say.


WSJ has an infographic that breaks down how your photo looks to a marketing person. Because if you're going to sell Fanta anyway, you might as well know how good a job you're doing.

Image via Shutterstock


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