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Facebook Rumors: SocialAds, Liars and Snooping



Just one week until the engraved-invitation-event (oh, if only I were one of the cool kids!) and Facebook rumors are flying at only about the same rate as usual. Not so good for Facebook: many of the stories aren’t so positive. Is the media darling falling on hard times?

Read/Write Web reports on the impending announcement, which will presumably be about SocialAds—and possibly about these SocialAds being “portable”:

The rumored technology would work like this: Facebook would place a cookie on your computer (the site already requires users to have cookies enabled to log in), every time you visit a third-party site that runs ads utilizing the “Social Ads” product, they would be targeted based on your social networking profile data. So, theoretically, if you’ve professed your love of Pepsi on your Facebook profile, you might see Pepsi ads while reading the news at MSN.

It’s a good explanation of a complex concept—but is it in the cards for Facebook? Seven days till we find out.

In one of the more negative stories of about the social network (or just realistic, depending on your point of view), Ad Age addresses one of the inherent weaknesses in a Facebook advertising system (which I’ve mentioned in passing before)—honesty. We all know that some people lie in their social networking profiles. *cough* Tom *cough*.

But is the practice common enough to spark concern for potential advertisers? Ad Age doesn’t come right out an say it, but they do lay out quite a bit of evidence that Facebook isn’t the perfect online mirror of our offline social networks.

So what? No, online social networks aren’t like offline ones. Does that mean they’re less valid as an advertising medium? I doubt it.

Finally, Valleywag reports from an unidentified Facebook employee that Facebook employees have the ability to look at not only your profile and personal information, but also see what profiles you‘ve been viewing. Scary? Perhaps. Outrage worthy? Perhaps not.

Or, as Lisa points out, Fake Steve Jobs puts it all into perspective:

Some of us are still trying to get our heads around the idea that Valleywag is pretending to be outraged at the idea of someone snooping into the private affairs of other people. I mean, hello? Valleywag? The guys who follow Eric Schmidt around on dates? Man oh man.

Depending on the coverage the Valleywag story gets (having reached the Digg homepage over the weekend, it’s probably past its peak of exposure), Facebook will most likely be able to take both the negative stories in stride.

After all, we’re all too busy salivating waiting for that announcement next week to notice, and Facebook can do no wrong.

  • http://www.audiomecca.com/music-software/ Music Software

    I confess to belong to that rather caring group of people who are outraged at this kind of invasion of privacy and I am outraged. But, as you say in other words, que sera sera!

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