If you use the internet, odds are, you have run into personality or character quizzes. Maybe you’ve taken them yourself, or maybe you’ve seen friends share their results.
But now we’re learning that these quizzes are not just fun and games. They certainly seem harmless, but it turns out they’re often a way for companies to collect data on your buying and lifestyle habits.
Online quizzes take just a few minutes, and you’re typically only answering questions about your favorite colors, clothing styles, or celebrities.
Millions of people take these quizzes… They’re quick and fun. Here’s how they go: When it comes to Hogwarts Houses, are you clever like a Ravenclaw or courageous like a Gryffindor? The sitcom “Friends,” are you more of a Phoebe or a Monica? Everybody’s seen those classic Disney movies: Are you princess Belle or Cinderella? And there’s always those superhero rivalries… Are you Batman or Wonderwoman?”
Aristotle Internet Service Provider President Elizabeth Bowles—she loves them. She just found out her Hogwarts House on a Buzzfeed quiz: “Ravenclaw.”
But she explains quiz providers don’t care which house she belongs to; they’re interested in her answers, then selling that info to third parties in the form of advertising.
“You take a quiz, and on that quiz they gain information about you, which they aggregate with other information, to turn around and send you those little ads that come on the side of your Facebook,” Bowles explains.
Those ads are tailored to you, based on preferences they’ve gleaned from those quizzes.
“These are marketing surveys. No one is back there creating these fun surveys to be fun. These surveys are designed to give marketers an edge.”
Most quiz websites say, your results are anonymized—they’re not saving your name, just trying to get a picture of you as a general consumer: “Location, IP address, sometimes browsing…