Editorial

Facebook Privacy Concerns

Personal Data Used For Marketing

Anybody who uses Facebook to share information or connect with family and friends has probably “liked” something. Maybe it was a band, company, cause or possibly a variety of different things, but whatever it was it certainly was a statement. A statement to the Facebook world that says, “This is something I care about.” Now, with some recent privacy policy changes and need to make Wall Street shareholders happy, Facebook will be  sharing the personal information of its users on other websites for marketing purposes.

Facebook has used target marketing for years and done so with moderate success. For example, Facebook will use its relationship status feature to determine if a person is single, engaged or married. If a user is single, most of the ads on the side bar on Facebook will likely be related to hooking up with locals. Engaged users will see advertisements related to wedding photography or destination travel. For those who check their status as married, advertisements may focus on vacations. Facebook also tracks family member connections as well now so if a user has a baby they can rest assured advertisements for baby related products will be popping up as soon as that baby pops out.

What Concerns Facebook Users

Privacy is always a top concern among any person sharing information on social networking websites. This is because many times that data is very personal and sensitive in nature. Conversations about family, friends, work etc can all have a impact on the advertisements a user sees, and that is part of the give and take of using social marketing platforms such as Facebook. However, Facebook feeding that personal and private data to outside websites for marketing crosses a whole new line of privacy concern. “People can accept their personal data being stored by Facebook because of the free services that the social networking company offers, but when the social marketing company gives that info to third parties is when people get upset”, stated a technology writer for GPS Tracker Shop.

“Once personal data is transferred to a they party it could fall under different privacy guidelines. This new sharing of information could make the practice of selling personal emails to spammers seem like a walk in the park. Like almost all other Facebook users, I constantly use the social networking site to share photos of my kids, talk about exciting events in my life or simply voice my opinion about any number of different topics, but because that information is being shared in my small circle of contacts it still feels relatively private, sort of like a conversation at a friend’s house”, explained a Facebook user who worries the constantly changing privacy policies could result in her private information being in the hands of outside companies. “I enjoy going onto Facebook and staying connected with friends and family, but I also don’t want my private life sold like some sort of commodity.”

Are you concerned that Facebook will use your personal information for profit, and if so, is that okay since they are providing the free social platform? Are you concerned that Facebook has continued to amend their privacy policies to meet the needs of their marketing teams and shareholders? The individual can always delete their info and stop using Facebook, but is that really the only method the social networking company should allow to give the user the ability to stop sharing of personal data?

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