Facebook Allows Brands to Use Your 'It's Complicated' Status Against You

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It seems like almost every day, we read a story that makes the social network come off as that much creepier and then proceed to open a new tab on our browser, pull up Facebook and scan our notifications. And this one, in regards to marketing, it is a real doozie.

Yesterday, the social media giant announced to investors and brands alike that companies would now be able to target their advertisements based on a new batch of your details. With the new update, brands will be able to sell you shit no one every buys in accordance to:

- Your Education;
- Your Gender;
- Your 'Relationship Status;'
- Your Workplace; &
- Your 'Interested In'

This revamped targeting scheme comes off the heels of the previous setup, where companies were only allowed to touch your language and location details. Hence why, if you live in New York, you see a bunch of SoHo start-up ads, Brooklyn events and shady car service deals on the right side of your Facebook. 

And, with the added dose of marketing creepiness, things are about to get much, much more personal.

In addition to what the new page for brands will look likeMashable reported on the scenario Facebook reps offered the audience to show the new branding at work: "Say you want to target an audience for a back-to-school campaign. You can drill down to college kids 18 to 21 so your post will be seen more by that age group."

In one of the first articles I ever wrote for the Voice, I reported on the use of Facebook by the Presidential campaigns to split us all into easily accessible and dumbed down demographics. There's a name for this neocorporate sales pitch: it's called micro-targeting. By hitting a direct group of people through social media, companies are able to better control what they're advertising and to whom.

And the miserable truth of it all is that micro-targeting is a vicious cycle for the consumer and Facebook user. Only one person can provide these companies with all these facts and figures: you. But, if you choose not to provide people with your education, workplace, gender and all that jazz, it's kind of hard to use the social network for what it's worth. In other words, you have to sell out to be included.

That's the upside of the argument that these major websites, including Twitter (who is also now targeting tweets at us, as of two weeks ago), Google and the rest of 'em, are becoming the Big Brother Orwell spoke about. No social network is private; therefore, there can be no 'invasion.' We offer the details and the companies come around to scoop our naivety for their digital sales team to assemble and gift wrap. 

The only difference is that, now, they can do it faster, smarter and much more efficiently.

[jsurico15@gmail.com/@JSuricz]
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Charli
Charli

"But, if you choose not to provide people with your education, workplace, gender and all that jazz, it's kind of hard to use the social network for what it's worth. In other words, you have to sell out to be included." 

 

I've never filled out my education, workplace, hometown, current city, political views, religious views, relationship status or 'interested in', and I don't see how I'm missing out by not so: I don't need to become friends with everyone I went to school with or once worked with, and those I do want to keep in touch with can find me without filling in that information and vice versa. 

facebookisascam
facebookisascam

" Only one person can provide these companies with all these facts and figures: you. But, if you choose not to provide people with ... "

 

It's worse than that. Let's not forget that long before the days of social media, internet marketing companies were profiling users based on the sites they visited. So-called "spyware" such as Gator (renamed Claria) was commonly bundled with free software like Kazaa. Tracking cookies work similarly. Even Google keeps logs of user history based on IP address. Most people have no idea of all the information being compiled on them.

 

Mark Zuckerberg even said, years ago, that people were crazy to freely give him all their personal details. P. T. Barnum once made a similar observation in his famous quote.

 

 

dirtyalleycat
dirtyalleycat like.author.displayName 1 Like

Yet we are actively inviting big brother in our lives. We the public can't continue to have it both ways, nothing is ever truly free. Facebook has figured out how to make money off our information and they have no reason to reign themselves in, its up to us the public to decide how much we are willing to pay to keep our information private.

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