Most people have probably taken a picture of themselves or others with a mobile phone. If you put the pictures online while holding or wearing a product, you might be revealing more than a pretty smile to data mining companies.
The Wall Street Journal discovered marketers are using public pictures to learn about products and their users. One example they give is how Kraft Foods uses Ditto Labs to review our photos:
Advertisers such as Kraft Foods Group Inc. pay Ditto Labs to find their products' logos in photos on Tumblr and Instagram. The Cambridge, Mass., company's software can detect patterns in consumer behaviour, such as which kinds of beverages people like to drink with macaroni and cheese, and whether or not they are smiling in those images. Ditto Labs places users into categories, such as "sports fans" and "foodies" based on the context of their images.
Kraft might use those insights to cross-promote certain products in stores or ads, or to better target customers online.
Always read the terms of service when you post pictures online. Sites like Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest don't prohibit data mining of public pictures.
If you take those photos and make them public, maybe put down that container of Vegemite before you take the pic.
Smile! Marketing Firms Are Mining Your Selfies [Wall Street Journal]