Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Facebook removes the gloves

with 5 comments

The wait is over: the crop has come in strong, and now the harvest begins. Facebook is the world’s largest vault of corporate-accessible private information on preferences, friends, and trends, and now all that information that people volunteered is being monetized by selling access to people who fit specific profiles. After this post, I’m unhooking from Facebook. Jessica Guynn reports in the LA Times:

Julee Morrison has been obsessed with Bon Jovi since she was a teenager.

So when paid ads for fan sites started popping up on the 41-year-old Salt Lake City blogger’s Facebook page, she was thrilled. She described herself as a “clicking fool,” perusing videos and photos of the New Jersey rockers.

Then it dawned on Morrison why all those Bon Jovi ads appeared every time she logged on to the social networking site. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

17 April 2011 at 6:57 am

5 Responses

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  1. You will need cunning and persistence to permanently remove your profile. It is no simple task. Facebook offers to “suspend” your account, which means that everything you input still remains in their archive and visible.

    This might help:

    http://scourmanop.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/deleting-facebook-account/

    Steve

    17 April 2011 at 10:46 am

  2. I reflected on all this a little more. I see two issues, each a little contradictory:

    1. In principle, what’s wrong with advertising being customized and specifically targeted to certain demographic and psychographic groups? Certainly, when I watch network TV and am bombarded by a slew of ads for tampons, fast-food, anti-aging creams, etc., I find this a horrible waste of my time and certainly the advertiser’s money since they hold no relevance for me.

    Amazon does something very similar to what Facebook is attempting…each book purchase narrows down the books advertised to me, based on my already demonstrated preferences. Why isn’t this a good thing. For sure, I’d love all the ads that I receive to expose me to products of which I wasn’t aware in areas such as shaving, photography, bicycling, etc.

    Ultimately, this whole approach is highly consistent with the original and benevolent philosophy of marketing in its earliest conceptions, i.e. rather than building a better mousetrap and hoping customers will come, instead build the mousetrap customers actually want by understanding their needs.

    2. So the real issue may not in fact be the segmenting and targeting of the market, but rather the surreptitious use of data gathering in what many people believe is a confidential context, for accomplishing the goal above.

    But does anyone really expect privacy on Facebook? Do you expect privacy when you pay for groceries with your ATM card; after all, we now that that data too is collected and used to profile us in order to target advertising and promotions more accurately.

    So in the end, it’s about privacy, and perhaps not s much about targeting.

    Steve

    17 April 2011 at 2:40 pm

  3. I agree: targeted ads are not in themselves bad at all, and on the whole better than non-targeted ads. But the issue is the creepy tracking of an individual and s/he does on-line. Too much of watching what we do.

    LeisureGuy

    18 April 2011 at 6:35 am

  4. I have concerns about whether this is an optimal level of privacy/invasion. But is what they’re doing any different from what happens after you sign up for a magazine subscription? The junk mail that follows is because the publisher sold your information to a junk mail clearinghouse. It’s been happening for decades. Is it any different than what Google does inside your Gmail account? The ads that show up on the page aren’t coincidence. Google analyzes your messages and gives you targeted ads.

    Maybe it’s all ok as long as my *personal* information isn’t being shared with advertisers. Like my address, my email, my name. You want to pipe in targeted ads to my facebook experience, fine. But the minute I start getting spam email or junk mail or telemaketing calls, no. For that, people should have to opt-in.

    scott

    18 April 2011 at 7:59 am

  5. It raises the question of what can we reasonably expect to be private when we engage in an open digital community.Let’s face it, we could go buy our books at the local bookstore, pay cash, not give our phone number, and that would be that. But we choose to be seduced by the ease of the digital shadow, which makes transactions so much more efficient.

    Steve

    18 April 2011 at 10:45 am


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