The rise of web tracking and more targeted advertising has helped fund the explosion of online content and build such web behemoths such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and others. It’s even part of the reason Verizon recently bought Yahoo, to bolster its potential audience for ads. It’s also led to more consumers installing ad-blocking software, which resulted in pushback from companies like Facebook to thwart it.
A study found that at least 75% of the world’s 500 most popular websites contain web trackers, up from fewer than 5% in 1998.
“The number of trackers have increased, the ability of the top trackers to track you across sites has increased and the complexity of the trackers has increased,” said Adam Lerner, a security and privacy researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle and one of the study designers.