Google and Facebook confirmed as biggest trackers

Posted on June 20, 2012


Recent research has shown, perhaps unsurprisingly, that net giants Facebook, Google and Twitter are the organisations most likely to track their users.

What is surprising in the results from New York-based Evidon, a digital media privacy and compliance solutions firm, is that the top six is entirely made up of their brands. The news has been announced in Evidon’s 25 Most Prolific Trackers list for 2012.

The top two spots were taken up by Google properties. Both their Analytics and AdSense programs placed here. They also took fourth spot with their Google +1 plug-in.

Positions three and five belong to Facebook.

The company’s Social Plugins product came in at third, whilst the Connect program took up fifth spot.

Twitter came in at sixth.

If widely broadcast, the news could scare some users. In reality, there is little to be concerned with. Google Analytics is a passive data collection tool, used by more than half of all websites for example.

Used by SEO and marketers the world over, a study earlier this year by W3 Techs showed that little under 56% of sites use the free analytics program to help create targeted content.

What some could deem a worry for consumers, particularly amid the UK’s new rules for allowing the use of cookies, is the number of trackers in place for retargeting consumers. Here again, Google took the top spot, with AdSense, DoubleClick and AdWords Conversion making up the top three.

The results are certainly interesting but, with Evidon’s Ghostery browser plug-in being used to collect the data they are only indicative. At present, just 1.6million users have the plug-in installed.


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