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Data Proficiency - Lesson Ten

Lesson 10: Social Media Data

The Data Proficiency Program training lessons will arrive monthly in your inbox from If you are not receiving the lessons when they are posted via your state email account, you can subscribe to our mailing list to receive the monthly lessons.

This lesson is the fifth lesson of Level 2 of the Data Proficiency Program. You're now working towards your Level 2 - Blue Badge. 

You’re scrolling Instagram while enjoying your morning coffee and you watch an ad from a national coffee chain. Later, on your walk back from lunch, you’re reading an article on a news site and notice an ad for that same coffee chain’s new fall seasonal coffee. Now you’re already making plans for your afternoon break that includes more coffee.

How can this be explained? It’s simple, really. Your digital engagement becomes a data point. Social media sites are tracking our behaviors and have plenty of avenues available to suggest more content that we might like. Yes, even your social media interactions become data.

If you didn’t know you were being tracked, now is the time to get informed. The Yellow Door Collective, a South African marketing agency, notes in a blog online, “cookie alert pop ups that you see on all sites these days are helping to make us conscious of the consent we give companies when we accept their cookies and agree to their terms and conditions.”

To learn more, let’s dig in further and learn more about the evolving social media landscape in this latest video lesson from the Study Hall: Data Literacy series about social media data. Additionally, we’ve included some extra reading below to further explain how social media data is being gathered and shared.


In this month’s bonus reading, we’ve linked to a couple of articles that dive deeper into this month’s topic, including how social media companies gather and share user data.

Business Owners Increasingly Rely On Social Media To Gather Customer Data (Forbes)

TikTok shares your data more than any other social media app — and it’s unclear where it goes, study says (CNBC)


Makanza, Kudzanai. (2021, November 10). “How are social media platforms collecting and using your data?” The Yellowdoor Collective.

<< Go back to Lesson Nine: Health Data |  Go to Lesson 11: Data Privacy >>

The video for lesson 10 Social Media Data: Study Hall Data Literacy #8  ASU + Crash Course) comes from the Study Hall: Data Literacy series released in September 2020 by Arizona State University as part of the popular Crash Course learning channel on YouTube.

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