Tag: facebook

Facebook Improves Privacy

 

 

Facebook has woken up to the fact that people will no longer put up with Facebook’s disregard for people’s privacy and they are starting to make changes designed to help Facebook users rather than just Facebook’s bank account.

Privacy Alerts

You may have seen an alert, upon visiting your News Feed, asking you to review your privacy settings. Facebook will show you a series of these which cover various topics:

– How Facebook use data from partners to show more relevant advertising

– Political, religious and relationship information you’ve chosen to include in your profile

– How Facebook use facial recognition

– Updates to the terms of service and data policy

You’ll see a summary of the choices you’ve already made and be given the chance to make changes.

Privacy Controls

They’ve redesigned the settings menu on mobile devices to make privacy controls easier to find and use and it’s all accessible from one screen. They’ve also made it clearer to see what information can and can’t be shared with apps.

In addition, there’s a new Privacy Shortcuts feature. From here you can have quick access to the most widely used privacy settings and tools.

Access Your Information

They’ve created a tool called ‘Access Your Information’ – a secure way to access and manage your information, such as posts, reactions, comments, and things you’ve searched for. You can find, download and delete any or all of your Facebook data.

Reward for reporting data misuse

A Data Abuse Bounty was launched recently to reward people who report any misuse of data by app developers.

It’s part of the efforts to more quickly uncover potential abuse of people’s information.

Facebook say they quickly review and respond to reports that identify a credible threat to people’s information, be it a case where a Facebook platform app is trying to collect people’s data to sell it, or pass it onto another party to be sold, or used for scams or political influence. If confirmed data abuse, they’ll shut down the offending app and take legal action against the company selling or buying the data if necessary. Facebook will reward the person who reported the issue and also alert those believed to be affected.

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Facebook Conversations Tested

The New Statesman Newspaper carried out an interesting experiment to test whether or not Facebook was listening in to people’s conversations.

Six staff members picked one or more subjects that are not part of their lives and which they had never searched for online or bought anything relevant to the subject etc.

Then they each read out a script (with their phone switched on) designed to point out these subjects in their lives and see if Facebook then started advertising relevant items to them.

The subjects were things such as a vegetarian chatting about her desire for Domino’s Meat Feast pizza.

The most interesting was a lady named Lizzie whose lines included “I just wish there was an app that would sort it all out for you… some kind of contraception app”. When she opened the Facebook app the following  morning, she was presented with an advert for Natural Cycles, the first app ever certified for contraception in Europe.

WOW.

However, there’s a psychological phenomenon called the Frequency Illusion (or the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon). It states that If you hear a new word or phrase for the first time and consciously have a conversation about it, finding out what it means, suddenly, for the next few days, you’ll see it constantly.

If someone says to you ‘when was the last time you saw a yellow car?’ you’ll see three in the next two hours.

For the other five people in the experiment (including the vegetarian), Facebook did not show anything even vaguely relevant to the subject’s spoken about. It’s just a statistical effect that some people will experience Facebook offering relevant and unexpected adverts at times that can seem spookily accurate.

Facebook are very clear that they do not listen in to conversations.

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Just How Big is Facebook

Worldwide, there are over 2.20 billion monthly active Facebook users and that number is still growing across the world.

There are 1.45 billion mobile users that login on average every day and the corresponding figure for monthly users is 1.74 billion. Both of the numbers are growing steadily.

In Europe, over 307 million people are on Facebook.

People aged 25 to 34 are the biggest group of Facebook users but there is evidence that younger people are moving away from Facebook (considered to be uncool now that so many Grandfathers and Grandmothers inhabit Facebook).

Some oddities:-

  • Highest traffic occurs mid-week between 1 to 3 pm.
  • a Facebook post at 7pm will result in more clicks on average than posting at 8pm
  • On Thursdays and Fridays, engagement is 18% higher than other days
  • There are estimated to be 83 million fake profiles
  • 300 million photos are uploaded each day
  • Average time spent per Facebook visit is 20 minutes.
  • 50% of 18-24 year-olds go on Facebook when they wake up.

Like it or loathe it, Facebook is the 800 pound Gorilla in the social media world and will do everything it can to stay at the top.

Interesting that it is considered to be uncool by a growing number of young people so maybe its peak is near and it could fall from grace as quickly as it rose.

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Does Facebook Listen to Your Conversation

People have wondered for some time how Facebook works out what adverts to serve up to which people and sometimes an advert that’s a little too accurate may turn up. That’s sets people wondering whether Facebook listens in on their phone conversations and there’s anecdotal evidence that seems to make the point.

At recent congressional hearings, when Senator Gary Peters asked Mark Zuckerberg (head of Facebook) if Facebook listens to users through their cell phone microphones in order to collect information with which to serve them adverts, Zuckerberg said “No.”

How Facebook Collects Information

The Facebook APP does request microphone permissions for any videos you post, as well as to identify music or TV shows when you use the “Listening to” status feature, but does not listen to your conversation.

It starts with your Facebook profile plus everything you post on Facebook. Facebook tracks you through Like buttons on other web pages. This is even true for people without a Facebook account.

It also:-

  • Uses data from its other APPS – Instagram and WhatsApp
  • Tracks data from APPS within Facebook e.g. quizzes
  • Tracks when you use your Facebook login to access other websites
  • Maintains shadow profiles on people who don’t use Facebook.
  • Records unique phone identifiers through in-app advertising to associate your identity across the different devices you use.
  • Tracks your location constantly
  • Tracks your purchases

If you have ever been surprised by a Facebook advert for a product popping up right after you were talking out loud about it, it may be that Facebook has learned too much about you but it won’t be from your conversations.

Most people dislike adverts but understand that advertising fund the websites and services and APPS so is a necessary ‘evil’.  Some prefer adverts that are relevant whereas others find that creepy or intrusive.

However, most do accept that targeted advertising is likely to become more prevalent and more accepted.

Facebook don’t listen to your conversations, but they can collect so much information about us that it may seem that adverts can sometimes be too accurately targeted at you.

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Facebook Adverts Target the Family

Facebook is introducing a new household audience feature that will let companies direct adverts to entire families or to specific people within a household. The tool could help aim adverts at people who influence purchasing decisions and other adverts to the people making the actual purchases.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The company selects the audience they want to target
  2. They uploads the custom audience data to Facebook (names and address, email addresses etc.). This may be data from their own systems or purchased data.
  3. They turn on the household audience feature to reach not just the person they’re targeting, but also other people in the same household.

Facebook is open about wanting to shift TV advertising to their platform.  Facebook executives said they’ll be able to identify members of the same household based on data, such as their familial relationships on Facebook, but also based on the frequency of shared check-ins or where they access the internet i.e. clever guesswork.

The tool might also be used to reduce wasted advertising spend. For example, if someone has already bought a household-specific product or service e.g. Netflix subscription, an Airbnb reservation—then based on the customer database, the marketer and Facebook know to stop showing such adverts to that household.

Along with the added targeting, Facebook is adding additional measurement capabilities. This will appear in the Adverts Reporting dashboard and show how campaigns perform in terms of getting results across members of a household. Metrics will include how many households the advertising reaches, along with the frequency at which they were reached. It’ll also potentially show how an advert shown to one person affected a purchase made by someone else.

Examples of how the new feature may be used:-

  1. A husband purchased products from Sonos, so he’s in the company’s customer database. Sonos might then try to influence his wife to get him a gift or their kids to buy him something.
  2. One member of the household who sees a hotel advert in France will find others in the household have seen it too, leading to the family making holiday plans.
  3. It could show parents ideas for their children and husbands the items his wife likes to look at.

This could spoil surprises or even expose cheating partners.

Many people already find the adverts that follow them around the Internet to be creepy. You look at a pair of shoes on Amazon then find every website you look at is showing you those same shoes.  This new Facebook feature could take that creepiness to a new level.

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