Facebook’s targeted advertising is already pretty sophisticated in understanding your tastes, but their ability to monitor your transactions could soon follow you into the real world. According to Ad Age, Facebook has teamed up with several data provider companies to track your purchases in actual brick-and-mortar stores. It will allow for brands to hone in even more accurately on consumers with targeted advertising on the site. On its surface, this plan seems like a giant leap toward Big Brother, but how it will work in practice isn’t quite so sinister.
The ad targeting will take place when data companies match up, anonymously, retail loyalty program members and Facebook users by using the phone number and email address members gave when they signed up for both services. However, Facebook is going to face an uphill battle in convincing a skeptical public that their personal information is safe, especially given the news of the recent Facebook hack reportedly perpetrated by Eastern European or Chinese hackers. “Facebook’s challenge is going to be breaking down the process in ways that are simple to understand and fostering confidence that this powerful data can be handled in a responsible way,” MEC Social Lead Kristine Segrist told Ad Age.
Even if the process is entirely secure and does not intrude on consumer’s rights, it’s understandable why it makes people a little queasy. Facebook has been desperate to find a way to monetize its massive user base, but should it come at the expense of using their personal information as fodder for advertisers?
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PRIVATE WiFi® is a Personal VPN that encrypts everything you send and receive. Don’t access Facebook from a public WiFi hotspot without it.
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