Facebook makes the bulk of its revenue through targeted advertising, so it makes sense that the company would want to show users as many ads as possible. However, the social media giant may have overstepped its bounds this week. According to a newly-published patent, Facebook could place targeted advertising inside of private Messenger conversations.
According to the patent filing, Facebook could target ads based on the text of your private conversations and even location data. For its part, Facebook tried to downplay the patent, saying that it explores new technologies all the time without necessarily committing to them.
We often seek patents for technology we never implement, and patent applications — like this one that was filed over four years ago — should not be taken as an indication of future plans,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “We don’t have any plans to place ads in conversations between people.”
Even for Facebook, this kind of shameless ad targeting feels like a bridge too far — especially given all of its recent privacy scandals. The company is already plagued by the perception that it’s snooping around in our lives; literally barging into private conversations wouldn’t do much to help dispel that notion.
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