Friday 23 April 2010

Latest Developments on Facebook

Facebook has recently developed a 'like' button for any website In its latest step to make the web social, Facebook seems to be putting things in place to become like a nerve centre of all websites. They are equipping a web of sites with a simple ‘like’ button. They can be easily presented on any site, so it will undoubtedly become an endemic part of websites. Users can click to show they like something like a movie, blog post, or a restaurant. And this data will be shared with others friends of that user.

By gathering information on your ‘likes’ and other personal details, Facebook can build a social profile. I’m not clear about how much of this information is used by companies when directing advertising to you, obvious ones like location, age, gender, relationships, languages, likes and interests and education are utilised. Companies don’t have direct access to that raw data, but can ask Facebook to target an advertising campaign at users with a particular profile.

It seems to me that Facebook is transforming into a real money making machine, and a highly successful one at that. If a Facebook user clicked ‘like’ on a pair of sunglasses on an online shop, and then other friends of that user saw this and declared that they also liked those sunglasses; then it does two things: 1) it generates interest in a product(s) and its website; 2) it may result in more sales of that product. So this could be good news for online shops and sellers.

With this big drive towards omnipresent social connectivity, it might be easy to forget that Facebook remains a privacy minefield. And after browsing news stories it seems that many users are voicing their concerns about the use of their privacy details on Facebook, and with good reason. It would be easier for me if they simplified their privacy controls so that they are retard proof!

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