Facebook might be free to use, but there’s no doubt we pay for the platform with our information. Indeed, Facebook knows just about everything about us—and by extension, so do Facebook’s advertisers. And that’s about to become even more true. According to a new report from Ad Age, Facebook is currently testing the ability for advertisers to examine the actual content of users’ posts and comments.
The feature, which is in beta testing right now and is expected to become widely available next year, allows advertisers to search through Facebook’s entire history of public posts. With Facebook’s enormous global user base, this tool will effectively let advertisers see what a large swath of humanity is buzzing about.
While the tool would not allow advertisers to see each user’s identity, it obviously still raises privacy concerns. After all, who wants some company poring over their posts to learn how to target advertising at them? At least some ad experts seemed aware of the potential issues, while also downplaying them.
“The world is getting more intelligent about how data is used,” Emily Kramer, a senior director at a marketing data and analytics company, told Ad Age. “Fewer people say it’s creepy and realize the quality of engagement on a platform is getting better.”
It seems unlikely that the public would be that okay with letting advertisers snoop on them, but our reaction probably won’t matter. It seems as though Facebook is planning to create this function whether we like it or not.