For those of you who are still reading, these changes came about as a result of the recent settlement of a 2011 lawsuit brought by a group of Facebook users regarding the legality of sponsored posts and Facebook’s infringement of privacy. The argument was that Facebook did not exclusively detail how user information was being used and that sponsored posts were a misleading title for what they really were: targeted ads.
As part of the settlement, Facebook must explicitly state what it uses your information for in reference to its ads. This information includes “likes,” interactions with advertisers, keywords from posts––all of which advertisers use to show us specifically targeted ads. At the end of the day, it’s a very direct way of telling you what you should already know: When you sign up for Facebook, you become the product.
The second update is the expansion of Facebook’s facial recognition technology for a user’s profile picture. This was touted as a way to make tagging friends easier. Users, however, usually have just themselves in these profile images. This may suggest that profile pictures are going to be further integrated into Facebook’s advertising, either through using a user’s familiar face to recommend services to his or her friend or recognizing locations and products in a user’s profile picture and offering ads targeted to those surroundings.
Will the new updates be earth-shattering to users? Most likely not. But it’s another stepping stone to Facebook’s ultimate goal of being the most personalized advertising vehicle in existence, made possible by its users. And all it takes is a little bit of your data.
Author: Zack Smith