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Companies are trying to use the heaps of information we post about ourselves on these social networks, willingly and publicly, to glean insights that could be applied to their products and services. Photo: Prem Bisht/HT
Companies are trying to use the heaps of information we post about ourselves on these social networks, willingly and publicly, to glean insights that could be applied to their products and services. Photo: Prem Bisht/HT

What your social data is telling companies

Nearly one in two Indians grant access to their phone contacts and mobile data in exchange for apps and close to 40% have granted access to their camera, says Norton study

Bengaluru: It’s an exchange that’s become a given by now—our personal data in return for free services. This is information that has built the digital empires of Facebook, Google and Twitter, and it continue to thrive.

In fact, Indians love free services so much, nearly one in two grant access to their phone contacts and mobile data in exchange of cool apps and close to 40% have granted access to their camera, according to a 28 June report by security firm Norton.

On social networks, we know the consequences of the data that we post—ads that stalk us from page to page based on our search history or our likes, and even our “private" conversations.

However, companies are also trying to use the heaps of information we post about ourselves on these networks, willingly and publicly, to glean insights that could be applied to their products and services.

Take hiring start-up Belong.co, run by Belong Technologies India Pvt. Ltd. The Bengaluru-based start-up uses a complicated algorithm that has about 300 parameters it considers before recommending you as a potential hire for companies that sign up for its service.

All companies talk about culture while hiring. Belong’s algorithm takes into account the data you post about yourself—the languages you speak for instance—and tries to determine whether you share similar characteristics with the team you might be placed into and bases its recommendations on that.

If you are a product manager and signed up for Twitter only recently, Belong’s algorithm might pass over recommending you, recognising that you are not an early adopter, something product managers should ideally be.

The financial services sector is another one looking at social data to determine an individual’s creditworthiness.

Mumbai-based financial technology start-up CreditVidya (InfoCredit Services Pvt. Ltd) uses a metric called TrustScore, which determines a person’s creditworthiness based on social media presence on networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, their e-commerce purchases and education and employment history as well.

Pune-based EarlySalary, a lending start-up with a non-banking finance company licence, offers short-term unsecured loans to professionals based on their social presence—mostly through their Facebook data.

No Facebook account? You’d better look for money elsewhere.

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