Cookies & Online Shopping

The Australian Cyber Security Centre defines cookies as small text files, or bits of information left on your computer by websites you have visited, which let them ‘remember’ things about you. I’ll include a link below to a video that helped with my understanding of how these cookies contribute to the development of a digital footprint. The example I’d like to use is through targeted advertising and online shopping. A few weeks ago, I was looking to purchase some face masks. I searched through a few options using safari on my iPhone but didn’t end up making a purchase. Over the following weeks I began seeing advertisements for face masks in both Facebook and Instagram applications. Using the data collected during my searches allowed for these advertisements to target my ‘interests’.

Cookies allow websites like Facebook and Instagram to collect data and create patterns in our browsing history to paint a picture of us via our interests. This data is then used to alter our experience online which can be convenient – I ended up buying some masks that were advertised to me – but isn’t always a good thing. The downside of companies using these data patterns to inform how they allow you to interact with you is better explained here:

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