Everyone likes Facebook, even conspiracy theorists. You would think that neurotic people would steer clear to avoid having their friends, parents and even bosses getting their hands on the information they might post on the site. Yet they seem very well acquainted with the ins and outs of the largest social networking site in the world. They are anti-Facebook evangelists, treating a social network like you would a rumour-spreading, friend-stealing ex. So no online diploma courses for them, then.
The main problem above mentioned people have with Facebook is the matter of their profile being monitored and cleverly marketed to by advertisers scanning page’s content and picking up key words to decide what ads appear on your right hand side. Note how the ads only appear there and they don’t open new windows or do annoying dances around your screen. That’s why most people don’t mind them.
Facebook says that it does not give out users’ information to advertisers, but there is still a small chance that ads you might respond to when you are openly gay on Facebook. This is not something that can happen too easily, though.
Fuelling anti-Facebookers’ (we know they’re using it too, they just don’t like it) hate is that names of Facebook users who clicked on ads are being given to advertisers, as exposed in an article on AllFacebook.com. This might seem like a major breach of privacy, but the article also states that advertisers can get Facebook usernames from third-party data sales companies and this will cost them less than actually advertising on Facebook.
Facebook’s implementation of the Timeline layout motivates users to share more about themselves. which gives Facebook more possibilities for advertising. This is how it makes its money. It also seems to be steering businesses in the right direction with Timeline, as profiles are now much more dependant on good PR and less on advertisements.
Furthermore, users can edit what appears on their profile more than ever before by editing the entire Timeline and using new settings that enable you to “allow” things you get tagged in before it goes to your profile. It still shows up in friends’ newsfeeds though.
It comes down to ignoring the hype about ads and listening to the advice your mom gave you: don’t give out information to strangers (and lesser known Facebook friends). You have privacy settings, use them. If information is really sensitive it is best left off the internet.
(Image by Sean MacEntree, CC by 2.0, via Flickr)