Authors: Sarah Krouse and Patience Haggin
Internet providers know a lot about what their customers do on the web, including the news sites they read, health ailments they research and entertainment services they use. They often know where those customers shop and manage their finances, too.
Now, they are deciding whether to use that information to sell ads. Some industry titans are being more aggressive than others, even as regulators are pressuring Silicon Valley companies and broadband providers to explain how they use customer data.
Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc. say they have so far shied away from the practice, out of fear of alienating customers. Verizon Communications Inc. doesn’t use Fios internet-usage or cable-viewing data for targeted advertising, a spokeswoman said. Cable operator Altice USA Inc. says it has also stopped short of doing so, but retains flexibility to pursue the strategy if it chooses to later.
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