Facebook’s new ad network is it spywear?

8 11 2007

If Facebook is going to be pimping my profile page, going to use their knowledge of what I’m doing on the site to place ads for partners, shouldn’t I get a cut of the revenue? Why am I feeling very wary of this development? I understand behavioral marketing. But this project is setting off alarm bells for me – me as a user of FB that is.

The Beacon Project as it is known, aims to leverage the way social networks work in a new and potentially revolutionary way by extending the reach of social networks into consumers’ daily Web-based lives. Facebook Ads launched with three parts:

  1. a way for businesses to build pages on Facebook to connect with their audiences;
  2. an ad system that facilitates the spread of brand messages virally through Facebook Social Ads™;
  3. and an interface to gather insights into people’s activity on Facebook that marketers care about.

The first part is logical and I have no problem with this at all. I like to know when I’m interacting with a company. It’s at point 2 that things start to get a little murky. Sure being a “fan-sumer” for brands that I have a good relationship with is not a problem… but will all the ads look like ads and how exactly will my behavioral information be used. I don’t really want to know everything that all my “friends” are doing as they interact with advertisers.

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