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Facebook’s behavioral targeting: good, bad and inevitable

22 Nov

You’ve probably heard the news that Facebook has added what’s almost the equivalent of Google’s Ad words. I say almost, because there are some key differences, since we do not subscribe to Google, among other things.

The program, called Facebook Beacon, is quite interesting –and controversial. That’s why I like it. It pushes the envelope. It sure raises privacy issues, because no one wants to involuntarily share personal information with one’s personal network.

Facebook states that there are safeguards, but its critics (who created a protest group on, you guessed it, Facebook!) won’t buy that. The Facebook group has 5,802 members.

I don’t quite agree with all this weeping and gnashing of teeth. No one forces you to joint a network. As one visitor to the protest group wrote, “I don’t understand. They made the site, they make the rules. If you don’t like it, leave. It’s how they make $ and what drives innovation”

Some of you will recall how people got all in a dither when Amazon began a “recommendation” feature using cookies that tracked purchases and saved that information to recommend products based on what people in a similar demographic had bought.

Back to Beacon, there are ways for subscribers to opt out of it, but it is annoyingly cumbersome. Opting into many services is an inevitable by-product of using social media. We could protest, stay as far away as possible from the network, or … just get over it.

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3 responses to “Facebook’s behavioral targeting: good, bad and inevitable

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