The Factory Is Facebook. The Product Being Manufactured Is You.by John Carroll onJun 2, 2012 • 5:24 am 1 Comment
(With apologies to Adbusters)
Dispatches from the Facebook/Marketing/Privacy vortex.
Facebook is taking steps to boost ad spending directly through brand pages, while also giving marketers new tools for managing their presence on the social network. The social network has rolled out promoted posts to extend the reach of page content, as well as providing companies with different access levels to their Facebook pages internally.
Promoted posts allow Facebook page administrators to boost exposure for their posts beyond the normal reach they get in fans’ news feeds — and without having to go through a separate ad dashboard. Facebook, however, doesn’t specify how much larger a percentage of a brand’s fans will see a post that’s promoted.
From the New York Times:
On Facebook, ‘Likes’ Become Ads
SAN FRANCISCO — On Valentine’s Day, Nick Bergus came across a link to an odd product on Amazon.com: a 55-gallon barrel of … personal lubricant.
He found it irresistibly funny and, as one does in this age of instant sharing, he posted the link on Facebook, adding a comment: “For Valentine’s Day. And every day. For the rest of your life.”
Within days, friends of Mr. Bergus started seeing his post among the ads on Facebook pages, with his name and smiling mug shot. Facebook — or rather, one of its algorithms — had seen his post as an endorsement and transformed it into an advertisement, paid for by Amazon.
In Facebook parlance, it was a sponsored story, a potentially lucrative tool that turns a Facebook user’s affinity for something into an ad delivered to his friends.
[A] group of users led by Austrian Facebook birddogger Max Schrems [has] accrued nearly 48,000 comments on proposed changes to the social network’s data use policy. As a result, the policy is up for a vote by all Facebook users, presenting a rare test of the social network’s ability to balance its status as a publicly traded company with its unique place in the digital public square.
If 30 percent of users join in the governance vote — which is an up-or-down vote on Facebook’s proposed slate of changes and comes after the public comment period on the policy — the results will be binding, Facebook says. Otherwise, they will be advisory.
Schrems and company are advocating that the social network take a far more user-centric approach to data management, one that requires users to give their specific permission for Facebook to apply data-gathering features to their accounts and to have greater access to the information the company is collecting about them. For instance, Schrems’ group Europe v Facebook is calling on Facebook to implement an “opt-in” system as opposed to an “opt-out” one for all data use and all features, such as face recognition; to publish a list of all data categories stored about a user, instead of naming examples; and to give users full access to personal data “in a raw format within 40 days upon request.”
So, to review:
Facebook is trying to become more advertiser-friendly. In the process, it is using your Facebook activity as marketing fodder. In response, privacy activists want you to stop it.
Is that clear enough?
John Carroll, who also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town, is a media analyst and mass communication professor at Boston University.
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