Facebook is Watching You

This week we were treated to Mark Z’s visit to Mother Russia where he handed out goodies and Hoodies to former Apparatchik types and addressed the equivalent of MIT in Moscow. Facebook is tiny in Russia with just about 3 million members. They have several home grown social networks and aren’t necessarily looking to have bid bad FB come in and take over like they have done in many other markets. In any event he help his typical build off competition where developers were invited to compete to come up with an App to persuade people to update their profile every day and dis some informal recruiting whilst on campus. If you are lucky enough to eat on the Google Campus you will note the very large and quite excellent array of food inspired by the Indian sub continent designed to keep the enormous number of developers Google boasts from that area. I wonder if Facebook will be building on a borsch and vodka bar some time soon.

While Mr. Z was enjoying his red (square) carpet welcome the guys back in the USSRofA have been rolling out some pretty Big Brotherly features. It’s been the bane of Facebook existence to date that it just doesn’t make money the way that search or pretty much any other new media ad approach does. The problem has always been intent. Just because you may be interested in skiing doesn’t mean you are looking for skis right now. Facebook has done a terrific job of collecting information about it users (each time you check that OK boy they get a little more). Now they are trying new and to find ways to make money out of that data. The latest nail in your privacy coffin is if you have given your name or email address to a company and you are a member of Facebook through that email address or phone number then Facebook will allow those companies to target you directly and exactly when you are on Facebook. That’s very cool from the advertiser’s point of view but it’s causing seriously raised eyebrows in some quarters. It’s likely that you have signed onto or up for probably dozens of different sites or services with your non work personal email account. It’s also likely that you have a Facebook profile probably linked to same personal email account. Watch out for the ads on Facebook to get a whole lot more personal offering you exactly what you have been interested in or purchased in the past. Big Brother is now selling to you…and it knows what you want to buy.

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