Today, Facebook users will see a notice at the top of their News Feeds, showing them which apps they use and what data those apps may house — which means that data is available to third parties. They’ll feel like products whose data is sold to marketers, instead of consumers served by data-backed marketing, according to an article yesterday in The New York Times.
Marketers use the uber-specific targeting capabilities of Facebook advertising because the data the company has on users allows it. But Facebook is taking precautions ahead of seeing its co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, testify to congressional committees tomorrow and Wednesday about a data disaster.
Members of the public and Facebook accountholders, often one-in-the-same, are upset about data disclosures on 87 million users via an app in Facebook that many of them used to take a survey. The firm using the data, Cambridge Analytica, then created psychographic models that the campaign to elect President Donald Trump and that Brexit proponents then used to target voters. (The New York Times reported yesterday that only 300,000 people took the survey, but the app harvested information about their friends and family for the 87-million user total.)
About today’s News Feed notice, Target Marketing wrote on Friday:
The social media company added a post in the Facebook Newsroom that details new privacy practices, as well as information Facebook will show users beginning on Monday. Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer writes: “We’ll show people a link at the top of their News Feed so they can see what apps they use — and the information they have shared with those apps. People will also be able to remove apps that they no longer want. As part of this process we will also tell people if their information may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.”
As a result of Facebook’s privacy measures, some marketers have already been caught off-guard. Recently Tinder, which allows users to log in via Facebook, had a problem with the interface that kicked those users out of the app for a time.
But the Times article shows that some of the users, who will be formally notified today by Facebook that Cambridge Analytica accessed their data, are annoyed by standard use of data by marketers.
According to the Times:
“I’ve come to grips with the fact that you are the product on the internet,” said Mark Snyder, 32, who lives in Pompano Beach, Fla., and was among [Christopher] Deason’s friends whose data was collected.
“If you sign up for anything and it isn’t immediately obvious how they’re making money, they’re making money off of you,” said Mr. Snyder, who maintains computer networks for a living.
The Times reports that at 6:37 p.m. on June 9, 2014, Deason took the survey and the app immediately collected this information about him and 205 of his Facebook friends: names, birth dates and location data, as well as lists of every Facebook page they had ever liked.
This happened without “their knowledge or express consent.”
But Deason, who already knows about social media marketing because he runs a computer business, says he was already “especially irked by the ways Facebook and other social media directed advertisements based on what users posted or viewed online. If he recommends, say, a Dell laptop to a friend, he said, ‘I go to the next page on Facebook and there’s a Dell ad. … That bothers me,’ he said.”
But in addition to the light at the end of the tunnel from the fact that many users of other apps already log in to those with Facebook credentials, the Times article provides this other insight into human nature from a friend of one of the survey-takers. Amy Risner says of Facebook:
“I’m just too nosy to stay off it.”
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.
Related story: Facebook’s Zuckerberg Testifies to Congress Next Week