A timeline of Facebook’s privacy issues
The present model of internet and requirement of data collection machines
Recently, Facebook has been piled up with all the negative comments from normal people to noteworthy celebs. First reason being, the data breach at the Cambridge Analytica. It followed by investigating Mark Zuckerberg by Congress. Though, it doesn’t affect badly for Facebook given the reason that most of the senators at Congress barely savvy how the internet actually works. In fact, ironically, the investigation video went viral making the senators look imbecile.
As shown by Ashkan Solani, there have been a plethora of data breaches and responses received subsequently have been distressing and the castigating of Facebook’s establishment having humongous user data in tremendous trove is misplaced. Well, I will explain why. In this content, I’d limit myself to the argument that the immense data guzzlers that all high tech companies have advanced into being an inexorably of how the internet works nowadays. The privacy breach is way beyond the limits of what I have written.
We are guileful in the shattering of our very own privacy. To use Facebook, we accede to their unquenchable desire to know every bit about us.
I hope you to take a step forward and analyze their objective precisely. Remember, every data they have from you is received legally. However, on some occasion, they have been surreptitiously collecting data that you obliquely, but not explicitly, consented to share — it’s the grey area. I ain’t an expert savvy on privacy and so I know nothing of the data collection which is outright illegal. If ya know, do help me out.
Everyone knows that Facebook is a cost-free service. The true quote threw right around (as its cent right) is, “if you ain’t paying money to it, then you’re their product”. Because it’s a free service, there’s a boundary means for monetization as advertising makes the mass of revenue generation for it. Remember that the company has begun to connect you with the people you care about but that’s not been their motive since lately. They have the investors who are interested in making more and more money year by year.
And while they keep innovating on the product you love, they also care to innovate the product that endorses love; as it’s what keeps ’em turned on and their machines whirling.
I urge you put on thinking titfer as I probe into how Facebook is stone-focused in its persistent pursuit of filling the casket. Here, while I speak only of AdSense platform, you would probably employ it for others too.
Decrypting the Algorithm
Extending the number of Ads distributed relies on:
- Platforms and number of users on it
- How often these platforms are active with the users
- Ad list and number products on the platform
- Ad frequency served on these platforms
Thus, Facebook requires bringing new users at a rapid rate to the platforms. To bring people and keep them active, they should come up with the content that’s attractive and rejoices audience by delivering the great experience. This includes maintaining the volume between paid content and the organic content. I shall give more on it later.
Growing cost per Ad
Knowing that their Ad platform is a hot bidding shot or auction model, the cost per Ad reaches sky when there are numerous advertisers flocking towards the platform — which is exact demand and supply equation. It’s quite obvious that Return of Investment (ROI) from this Adsense should be good enough so that it enhances number ventures to choose Facebook for advertising.
In order to deliver the expected ROI, the onus is on them to provide you with the ads that are relevant and attract you to do something like a Click, watch a video or enquire about it. The prime agenda of Facebook is to render the creative content that does users to spend more time on it (reading or viewing), engage in it, share it and click on it if it’s an Ad.
Looking above, we can conclude that Facebook should keep getting better at the content and it’s the North Star of every marketing manager at the company to increase the response and give a dopamine that retrieves people from the platform. Be it senseless scroll down through the news feed or expecting reactions for the photos you upload.
Feeding the Beastie
So how do you think Facebook decides the content you’re most likely love to see? It’s by tracking every bit of you, digital and physical. Every post you shared, commented on and etc. are analysed and parsed by an Artificial Intelligence that works to know you better.
On the platform, Facebook analyses everything about you. What post you’re putting, who are you relating it to, and the status of your mood and host of some other things. These all are related to build and develop your profile. After all, you know, what you say is who you’re. Any content that you’ve shared, commented or liked becomes the personality of your profile. When you go out for dinner with friends and Check-in you’re informing Facebook about your activity. Facebook considers you as an interesting personality in a content if you’ve simply spent an extra second on that content.
Also, Facebook tracks your offline activities on other websites through their Facebook logging like Facebook widgets and Facebook analytics scripts.
Recently, Ars Technica reported how Facebook has been using the call logs and SMSs from the Android smartphones by exploiting the option ‘read contacts’ permissions. Mark Zuckerberg stated that Facebook monitors messenger chats for numerous reasons except for analysing chats to know advertising platform for particular users.
Advertiser’s point of view
Having been in the digital market and most importantly on Facebook, the level of targeting possible is unbelievable. Age, gender, location and other demographics are provided to target the people. I would target people in anything with an interest. I could even see the kind of device you used mobile or desktop and the network you used WiFi or mobile network. It could even segregate and depict citizens and expatriates. I could target each of my content by dividing them on their socio-economic conditions.
Facebook entertained advertisers to reach their target audience that was relevant to their business or domain, thus enhancing the probability of click-throughs, engagement and eventually conversions. This platform was majorly focused on increasing the ROI. Hence, most of the advertisers invest most of their marketing budget for advertising on Facebook.
Then, who’s to blame?
Now conclusively, we reach the heart of the problem. The route Facebook took to become $450 billion giant is certain. It definitely couldn’t have reached the status it’s rejoicing today if it didn’t feed on your personal data. Building a strong platform that scales required it to understand users intimately.
Only after giving away your privacy acquires you the convenience of the price.
We were deceitful in it. We exactly knew what we were into and still did it anyway. To restate, as Cambridge Analytica was a sheer breach of trust, it was bound to occur. Facebook also made blunders with the product, along the way. This issue highlights granting too much platform data to developers of the Facebook app. Back in the years, it made a similar blunder with Farmville, where it allowed users to send several spam messages to the long lost friends, uncles and aunties. Regretfully, what’s coming before is that Facebook didn’t care a bit about such useless instances.
We have rendered all our data. We should now look on to our habits. Remember, the convenient price comes at the bargain of giving away your privacy. You can try to get outta the grid or surrender to our digital surcharges. A few are tryna (trying to) solve this issue — Mastodon is an example of it. For now, I haven’t yet got into it, but the scheme to explore on few of them and they probably will write upon it down the line sometime later.
We personally grew up the demon i.e. Facebook. Every one of us directly or indirectly contributed to the success of it. Throughout the history, as we’ve been species we were adept on portraying individually on selfish motives of ours and stimulations to create monsters, whether its dictator or market crashes. Our antecedents would have cursed us on our inability to communicate to one another ineffectively. The irony is that we used the advanced tool for communications, to commit the biggest mistake.
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I am working on a few other pieces as well, technical and non-technical stuff. I am also having a look on Google. As it might, like Facebook, will soon exploit our privacies on Google apps and soon dive in to become a multi-billion dollar product. Do follow me on Medium here and blogger.