Facebook Can Have My Data

In case you haven’t heard, Facebook is now the glue of the internet. That’s pretty vague, so read all about what that means in this post from Andrew Swenson/Wordpost (or in the first article I linked… they’re both good).

The big news is Facebook’s announcement that their “like” button will be available all over the internet. When you’re frolicking around IMDB and checking out your favorite quotes from Clueless, you’ll be able to check out which of your Facebook friends has a similar love for the best movie from 1995. Beyond that nice little friendship builder, it’s no big deal – just that every site that has a “like” button is allowed to aggregate, save, and react to YOUR information.

A lot of people are kind of freaking out about the changes to what Facebook and publishers can hold onto.

But I think it’s GREAT.

Obviously it’s great for Facebook and publishers to gather mounds of consumer data, but it’s perfect for me too. There’s only two points that matter to me from a Facebook-user & consumer standpoint:

  1. Every piece of information that Facebook knows about me is a piece of information that I willingly gave to Facebook. If I don’t want it passed around the internet from company to company as I like things that I use, want, or enjoy, I’ll remove it from my page. Facebook can’t share my information unless I give it to them.
  2. The point of publishers saving information is to customize content for each visitor to their site. If that means that ESPN will display a Tigers story on the front page because they recognize I’m a Tigers fan, that’s a win for me. If IMDB shows me an advertisement for an upcoming Tim Burton movie because I like a bunch of his previous shows instead of an ad for Sex and the City 2, I might even go as far as sending a thank-you email.

If you’re using the internet (and something tells me you are…), privacy is an illusion. Google knows what you search and what your emails are about. Facebook knows who your friends are and what you like. That’s the way this world works and it’s going to make your life better.

Are you concerned about the information Facebook knows about you? Do you think it is wrong to allow publishers to save that information as well? …will any of your concerns lead you to delete your Facebook profile?

Here’s what I told Facebook – use it wisely :)

8 thoughts on “Facebook Can Have My Data

  1. The trouble is that once you say you “like” something, you’re pounded over the head with it. I recently shopped for my favorite brand of shoes online. From that moment on, every day, I was hounded by ads for that brand. A luxury brand, acting like a TV infomercial. It’s too much! I ALREADY love the brand. I don’t need it pounded into my head every day! It takes all the fun out of it, and it takes the fun out of having that luxury item. Rather than making it special, it makes me get sick of seeing it all the time. This was about three weeks ago, prior to the FB “like” option.

    • You make a good point, Leah. But I think that’s a case of brands getting a little trigger-happy and failing to be tactful in their marketing. The same can be said for the same commercial popping up so many times it makes your brain numb. On the other hand, I’d much rather consistently see an ad for a brand I know I like (hopefully they change it up a bit, offer a deal, or give me some new info) than see an ad for something I have no need for (like Nair…).

      Just a thought: If I wanted to get aggressive as an advertiser, why not go where the competitor is being liked or contextually advertised?

  2. Scott, I love that you’re optimistic about the Facebook changes. I’m also really excited. I’m excited that Facebook and publishers alike will use my personal information to give me a more personal, relevant, and better web experience.

    All that being said, many of the Facebook’s users do not fully understand the privacy implications and do not understand how to tweak their privacy settings. Facebook is in a tough spot. In order to deliver the best web experience for its users they need as much personal data as possible. At the same time, they need to maintain the trust of their user base and allow them to control what they share. If I was serious about my privacy, I would see this as an inherent contradiction, and a problem. Facebook should maybe do a little more to educated it’s users about privacy settings and their importance.

    I think I’ve just accepted the fact that online privacy is basically a misnomer, and focus on the positive aspects and possibilities of a personalized and social web.

    • Thanks for the comment, Danny. I’m right there with you. It has to be frustrating for Facebook to come from a point where they know they can create a better experience if they have access to everything, but people still have an issue with knowing brand have access to the information they willingly share. I think you’re right about educating users on the fact that they maintain all control over their data, privacy, and sharing… it’s just getting more complicated to do so. Based on Facebook’s amount of users and growth, I think they’ll be ok :)

      Great point about staying positive concerning the personalized web, too – Just a matter of time before it’s a mainstream thought?

  3. Great post Scott! This is the perfect way to look at it. So many people get freaked out about their information being shared but forget the fact that they are the ones that shared the information in the first place! We’re not in the world anymore where people hide behind screennames. We have more power than we think because we share what we want and get the content we want because of it. A lot of people I know are concerned about having their address available or their phone number, which somewhat surprises me because did they forget that we have phonebooks that used to list that information? I think it is fine that publishers keep this information, but I think it does take a certain amount of trust and understanding.

    • Thanks for the comment, Sarah. You’re right about the trust aspect – Kind of comes back to only getting once chance to make a first impression and the days where people could hide behind a screen name weren’t the best first impression for some people. On the other side, like you pointed out, it’s unrealistic to think Facebook (or anybody on the internet) has any information that didn’t already exist somewhere else (like a phonebook). Most people understand they should use common sense when posting things in public, but this Facebook deal is even beyond that. Even if you do post something that flies in the face of common sense, no individual at any specific company is going to see it. It’s going into an automated contextual content aggregator (if an ACCA doesn’t exist already, sign me up for a trademark on that) – the worst thing that will happen is that one of your favorite brands knows you better. Watch out.

  4. Pingback: Private Book « Branding U – of O

  5. I’m this way, too. People freaked out when Google launched their Dashboard. I heard alot of people say how scary it is that they know so much about us. I just thought, “If you create an account with them and upload data to all of their services, how can you be surprised? You’re shocked they remember what you search for? THEY’RE a search engine!”

    I feel the same way about Facebook. I don’t put stuff online that I don’t want online. Read the privacy policies for these companies and close your accounts if you’re worried.

    The Internet has a long memory.

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