Posted October 29, 2010 5:18 pm by with 6 comments

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When you see an ad on Facebook, it’s likely that it’s being served to you because of something you wrote in your profile. But what if you didn’t fill out your favorite movies, your hometown or the quote that inspires you? Facebook has an app for that.

As noted by CNET, Facebook has applied for a patent on a new type of ad-targeting system that will better serve ads to those who don’t fill in the blanks.

The system, which they refer to as inferential, assumes that a good portion of your Facebook friends are into the same things you are. So an ad that the systems deems appropriate for you, would also be served to your friends.

It looks like the advertiser will be able to choose the criteria for the match, and the percentage of people that must match before the ad is generated. Then, the clever computer program does the rest of the work.

Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it? As a person who tends to lag on filling out profiles, I don’t mind being targeted in this way. If I have to see ads, I’d rather see ones for things I might care about like books and movies rather than be bombarded with generic ads for products I wouldn’t use.

And even though my Facebook followers are a pretty diverse group, you could round them up into three main categories, all of which would relate back to my interests.

What do you think? A nice twist on targeted marketing or the key to more privacy problems on Facebook?

  • It would be a closed system. People wouldn’t be able to view the actual users to which the ads would be displayed. So I don’t think there’s a real privacy concern. Is there?

  • Brian Smith

    This is just a way of targeting you and using your content to generate adds and hence once again using user information for monetary gains. Facebook has crossed the line and everything u post on facebook will either be sold or used against you. Use facebook only if you dont give a damn about your privacy or your content otherwise wait for a safer social networking platform like MyCube or Diaspora to release which promise complete control over your content

    • I have to agree with you, excellent commentary.

  • I think its pretty funny that people like to complain about a business monetizing its own website.

    If you guys take a look at 99% of other sites, most of their privacy policies and terms actually say most content uploaded will be owned by their company.

    Privacy is only an issue if you aren’t educated enough on or haven’t read the terms of a site (which upon signing up, Facebook required you to read). Keep your photos clean, set your privacy settings to what you want to and stop complaining or move on. Facebook is a business out for financial success and gain… and if you think that’s unethical, go be a hippy and hug some trees.

  • I think Facebook is just doing ok, and I have to agree , it is a business first of all!
    If you don.t like it then you can move on …

  • tomriddler

    Facebool has now filed for an ad targeting patent that will let it direct ads based on the tastes of your friends, this goes on to show just how insecure your information on facebook actually is. Facebook is now using user content for their own moentary gains and does not care about user security. I have deactivated my facebook out of concern for myself and my friends and will switch to a safer website like MyCube or Diaspora to release which will not sell my content to advertisers