Facebook and Google monetize our data. What are the amounts?

Facebook’s annual revenues from the data of Polish users in 2020 amounted to PLN 2.2 billion, and in the case of Google, PLN 4 billion. Poles are aware that digital platforms earn money on the collected data, and this practice is reluctant. According to the report “How much is our data worth?” by the Polish Economic Institute (PIE), 87 percent. of respondents agree with the statement that technology companies know too much about us, and 84 percent. is of the opinion that the activities of such firms should be subject to greater scrutiny. At the same time, seven out of ten Poles claim that digital services should be free.

– For the current situation where digital platforms have access to all our data and display personalized advertisements, the average user would expect monetary compensation. More than half of the interviewed Internet users (63%) agree with the postulate of banning advertising on the basis of private data. On the other hand, only 38 percent. of respondents are ready to pay for better privacy protection for the websites they use. It may be related to the distrust of these companies – 76 percent. does not believe that the paid version of Facebook would better protect their rights. In the case of Google, it is 73 percent. – says Ignacy Święcicki, head of the PIE digital economy team.

The average Pole is able to pay PLN 17.07 per month for Facebook not having access to data aggregated on the platform and from other sources. In the case of Google, the accepted fee for the lack of access to data is PLN 14.10. As the authors of the report explain, these amounts can be interpreted as a value determining to what extent the average Polish internet user evaluates access to his data.

For partial privacy, i.e. access of websites only to data placed on the platform or to the search history, but without access to activity on third parties, the respondents would be willing to pay PLN 12.35 for Facebook and PLN 6.71 for Google.

Interestingly, Polish internet users do not mind advertising profiling. If they were to receive a non-personalized ad on the platform, they would expect compensation of PLN 1.28 in the case of Google and PLN 1.04 in the case of Facebook.

Recent years have seen a huge leap in the revenues of technology companies. In the third quarter of 2021, platforms had as much as 42 percent. participation in the top ten companies with the highest stock exchange valuation in the world. For comparison, 10 years earlier this share was zero. In the case of Facebook, ad revenue is 98 percent. company’s revenues – $ 84 billion globally in 2020. In the case of Google, the share of advertising revenues in the company’s revenues is 80 percent. – about $ 147 billion – indicate the authors of the PIE report.

Digital giants are increasingly prone to self-regulation and increase user privacy protection standards. – At the moment, very advanced works are underway to change the functioning of the Facebook advertising model. Currently, Facebook uses the data we leave behind to target ads and uses this data to determine our interests. (…) The system, which will probably be introduced soon, will give users the choice that they will be able to opt out of targeting by switching to a system in which they will define their interests themselves. So Facebook is ready to move away from targeting ads based on user data and use only their declarations of interests, explains Dominik Batorski, sociologist and data scientist from the Interdisciplinary Center for Mathematical and Computational Modeling.

According to the researcher, the revenues of digital platforms will suffer from increased privacy. – Data will not be less valuable due to the fact that it will be less used – he estimates.

After the article was published, we received a message with a comment by Google Poland regarding the information contained in the report of the Polish Economic Institute.

– The information entrusted to us allows us to offer better, more helpful functions of our products, and the use of many of them does not require a fee, such as e.g. [korzystanie – red.] from a search engine or Google Maps. We maintain the privacy of users and we care about the security of their data. Products and services on the Internet, the operation of which is possible thanks to advertising, allow everyone to find the information they need, and companies, even the smallest, to find new customers – comments Adam Malczak from Google Poland.

– The methodology of this report is untenable. As a result, the report uses misleading numbers to perhaps generate headlines in newspapers, but it does not help millions of Polish women understand how the digital economy can work better for them, he adds.

Dominika Pietrzyk

About Eric Wilson

The variety offered by video games never ceases to amaze him. He loves OutRun's drifting as well as the contemplative walks of Dear Esther. Immersing himself in other worlds is an incomparable feeling for him: he understood it by playing for the first time in Shenmue.

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