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Uncovering the Massive Amounts of Data Generated by Internet Users Every Day
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Uncovering the Massive Amounts of Data Generated by Internet Users Every Day

The internet is a wonderland of data – with every click, swipe, and search generating a treasure trove of information about our interests, habits, and behaviours. It’s incredible to think that the average person generates up to 1.7 MB of data every second, and when you consider that there are over 4.5 billion internet users worldwide, the potential insights that can be gleaned are truly astronomical! Just to give you some scale, approximately one megabyte of data is the equivalent to one 500-page book!




What is Internet Data?

Internet data is defined by the vast array of information produced and exchanged online – whether that’s posting a photo to Instagram, inputting a query to Google or purchasing a new outfit from ASOS. This data forms the backbone of the digital world, driving innovations and shaping the user experience whenever you browse online.


Understanding the Scale

To grasp the enormity of internet data, consider this: billions of gigabytes are generated daily. Every minute of the day, there are:

  • 49,380 Instagram user photos posted.

  • Spotify streams over 750,000 songs.

  • 6,940 matches are made on Tinder.

  • Google conducts 3,877,140 searches.

  • 12,986,111 text messages are sent.

  • GIPHY serves 1,388,889 GIFS.

The surge in data production can be attributed to the growing number of internet users, increased connectivity, and usage of smart devices, and it’s collected in many different ways.


Sources of Internet Data Collection


Social Media Platforms

Internet data is collected through multiple methods, for example social media platforms serve as major contributors to user-generated data. Posts, comments, and likes provide valuable insights into user preferences and trends.

Search Engines

Every search query you enter into a search engine adds to its data pool, shaping the information available online and influencing search engine algorithms.

Online Transactions

Online shopping transactions generate data related to consumer behaviour, purchase patterns, and market trends, influencing business strategies.


Types of Data Generated


Structured Data

Every interaction you have with internet’s ecosystem generates data that can be categorised into structured and unstructured data. Structured data includes organised and easily searchable information that can easily be analysed, often found in databases, for example when you provide your email address and other personal details when you sign up to something.

Unstructured Data

Unstructured data, on the other hand, lacks a predefined data model. This includes text, images, and videos, such as those you would post on social media. These require more advanced data tools to be analysed.


Why Companies Use Your Data


Personalised Marketing

So, why do companies collect so much data from your online activities? The key benefit is personalisation which enables them to tailor marketing strategies accordingly, meaning content is personalised and recommendations are made based on your individual preferences.

Improving User Experience

By understanding your behaviour through data collection, companies can enhance their products and services, creating a more seamless and enjoyable user experience.

Enhancing Product Development

Finally, by analysing your feedback and preferences, businesses can refine existing products or even use artificial intelligence predictive modelling to predict trends, enabling them develop new ones that better meet consumer demands and have a competitive edge in the market.


Big Data


What is Big Data?

When we say Big Data, we mean very large and/or complex data sets that cannot be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software. Big data analytics allows businesses to extract meaningful insights from vast datasets, generated from a collective of many, many users’ online data.


Big Data at Big Companies



Did you know that Google processes 3.5 billion requests per day? This requires a massive amount of data storage, and with Google being one of the largest data companies in the world, it’s estimated that Google is storing over 10 exabytes of data, which is the equivalent of 1,600,000,000,000 books!


Amazon, another household name, rounds up about 152 million drawers of data from customers’ purchases, supporting buyers in deciding which items they’d like to purchase. Amazon are estimated to have around a MASSIVE one exabyte of data stored on their customers.


Finally, Facebook. It’s estimated that Facebook collects 500 terabytes of data DAILY. Back in 2012, they admitted to storing 100 petabytes of photo and video data back in 2012 – imagine what that would look like now!


Ethical Considerations in Data Usage


Privacy Regulations

It’s scary to think these big companies have so much data about us – and can we be sure that this data is stored ethically and in an environmentally-conscious way? The use of user-generated data raises concerns about privacy. Striking a balance between personalised services and user privacy is essential. Privacy regulations, like GDPR in the UK, aim to protect user data and hold organisations accountable for responsible data management.

The amount of data produced by internet users like me and you everyday is truly shocking, and whilst the majority of us understand what we are signing up for, not everyone does! Obtaining informed user consent for data collection is a crucial ethical consideration for companies, so you know what you’re signing up to when you accept any terms and conditions. Transparency in how data is used builds trust between businesses and consumers.

Responsible Data Practices

By analysing your browsing history, social media activity, location data, transactional data, and device data, businesses can create highly targeted campaigns that resonate with their customers, but really the bigger question is: do we really want this?


Using the Internet Responsibility


Staying Educated on Data Generation

By being more aware about how data generated by your digital footprint is generated, it empowers you to to make informed choices about your online activity and the data you share. Being aware of your online privacy practices in real time and if you’ve been exposed in a data breach is a starting point – and the Vault app can help with this by giving you a personalised PrivacyScore by providing a few details.

Opt-in and Opt-out Options

When you use any online service, make sure you know exactly how you can opt-in and opt-out of data privacy and security settings – whether that’s the cookies page when you enter a website or a specific app’s settings. For example, in the Vault app, if you want to opt-out of getting rewarded for your data, you can do this easily and at any time – or opt-back in if you change your mind!



From social media trends to e-commerce behaviours, there’s no denying that the information generated daily from our internet use offers valuable insights that drive innovation, business strategies, and decision-making processes. At Vault, we believe that embracing the power of data while upholding privacy and security is the key to unlocking its full potential. It’s our mission to make sure that you understand what is being put out there, and to be empowered by the possibility of CHOICE when it comes to your data. Download the app now on Google Play or the App Store – it’s a must-have in any data security and protection toolkit!