A new type of targeted Facebook ad campaign is in the works that will allow shops and services that you use in the real world to find you on Facebook and show you ads for their pages or products.
It starts with the businesses themselves, and their own existing customer contact lists – think of every time you’ve given your email address or other information when signing up to a loyalty card scheme or for any other admin purposes. Businesses then upload this information to Facebook, where it is crossed checked with the user information there. This then creates a list of users whose contact information matches up with the data that the potential advertiser uploaded.
This gives businesses who have loyal customers that aren’t fans of theirs on Facebook the chance to get their Pages in front of people who have a greater chance of Liking them. They are also able to further target their ads to certain demographics such as age and gender within this group, so if there are certain niche products on promotion, this could be a more effective method of promoting them.
Of course, data privacy is a key issue here. While both the data sets uploaded by the companies and the data provided by Facebook are all hashed, and neither party can actually look at the other’s data, opinion appears to be divided on whether or not this is an invasion of privacy.
One commenter on TechCrunch said: “My take is that Facebook is basically sharing my non-public privacy setting controlled data with a third party. I know that it is hashed, but it is still essentially sharing my data. The response will be interesting when this rolls out. I hope they properly notify all the users. Something about this bothers me more than any other privacy issue at any company in the past years.”
While another seemed less concerned with the issue and more impressed by the possibilities: “Those of you concerned just because the word “email” and “phone number” are in the same sentence as “Facebook”, please read more closely and realize that none of your private information is being sold or traded. The ONLY noticeable difference you’ll be seeing are better ads that you might actually “like” more.”
What’s your take on this? Has Facebook crossed the line of personal privacy, or will this make the Facebook user experience less random and actually provide users with adverts they’d like to see?