Facebook, brands, advertising and privacyMarch 12, 2013
By now, you may have repeatedly heard that if Facebook was a country, it would be the third largest (by population) in the world.
Facebook is a massive platform for brands.
Ever “Liked” a product, video or post? Apps are increasingly utilising Facebook users to collate, integrate and promote personal data and preferences. If an individual has not manually selected certain privacy settings, a brand can use that data as a recommendation or advertisement on Facebook.
Whilst brand advocates have contributed to the success of Facebook, there are also elements of privacy of which responsible corporations and sensible individuals must be cognizant.
This is not a new issue. MIT published a study “Facebook: Threats to Privacy” in 2005. At that time, approximately 12-22% of users actually revealed their cellphone numbers, with s a noticeable gender difference. Amongst the study respondents, (University students from Harvard, MIT, NYU and Oklahoma), women were less likely to publish their cell number.
More recently, Mashable published a Facebook privacy guide, and just yesterday, promoted SimpleWash, a cleansing agent to remove unwanted and negative content and even photo tags. Other resources exist to advise Facebook users on protecting their identifiable data, such as Reclaim Privacy.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has published a comprehensive and easy-to-use guide to the privacy and security settings for individual Facebook accounts: “A Guide to Facebook’s Privacy Options“.
While brand managers will want to capitalise on brand advocates, as individual Facebook account holders, they may well want to protect their own privacy.
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