Facebook has gone through another round of ill-advised changes over the past week.
When someone “friends” you, you now have to put in the information about how you know one another when the invitation is accepted. If you forget to do this, there is no way you can make up for it later with Facebook’s new friends’ interface. Bad move on Facebook’s part—if your friend does not do this, or gets it wrong, then it’s too darned bad. You will have to advise your friend of the error, “unfriend” him or her, and go through the process again, if you want this information to be recorded accurately.
Secondly, Facebook advertisements now geo-target based on where the user is. This, you think, might make sense. I argue that it does not, and I have often been an opponent of geo-targeting.
When I look at an American print magazine, I see American advertising—and I expect the same online. If I wanted domestic advertising, I’d browse a domestic site. The point is that I choose which jurisdiction I want to be sold from. It’s thanks to the absence of geo-targeting in the early days that I discovered many etailers to begin with, such as CD Now and Amazon.com.
Prior to the latest change, Facebook fed advertisements to the user based on where the user said his or her location was. I had mine set to Göteborg, Sweden, because I felt the Swedish advertisements had more relevance to me than Kiwi auction ads for an iPod—especially considering that I am one of the last New Zealanders not on TradeMe or similar services. I also wanted to read Swedish ads to practise my comprehension of the language.
I discovered this when travelling through India, having set my location to Hong Kong while I was there and forgetting to change it to New Delhi. While in India, Facebook still fed me Hong Kong ads. It made perfect sense to me, especially as I am a Hong Kong native. Some of us wouldn’t mind getting advertising from our home towns.
Equally, a Kiwi living in the UK might just want to see Kiwi advertising when (s)he browses Facebook.
It makes no difference to Facebook money-wise if it is being paid on CPM rates. However, if it wants to show better CTRs, or clickthrough ratios, then I suggest it return to the status quo ante.
Finally, I spotted two new ‘Email notiﬁcation’ entries that Facebook had added, and turned on without my permission. I advise Facebook users to go through their privacy settings: they will be in for a bit of a surprise.
But Facebook has shown it seldom listens to the user base—its arrogance continues to show, with every move it makes. I write about this, but I don’t expect the company to do a thing about it. Posted by Jack Yan, 10:14
Thanks for the heads-up on this, Jack. *scoots off to check Facebook privacy settings* I guess if it wasn't for angels like you (alerting us of Facebook's sneaky actions) - it would have gone unnoticed and we would all be sold for 10 cents! (Referrings http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/5/3/nation/3822236&sec=nation)
Adeline, I took a screen shot of the privacy changes, but didn’t save it.
In fact, I have just gone back to ﬁnd out for you and despite my having turned them off, Facebook has turned them back on again!
Go to ‘My Account’, then ‘Notiﬁcations’. The two ﬁelds are: (a) ‘Updates about Facebook product news’ and (b) ‘Invitations to participate in research about Facebook’.
Sorry Jack - I just realised my typo error in the last comment. "Referrings" I meant "Referring 2" :)
Anyway, re:Facebook. It's a fact. THEY ARE SNEAKY. I remember turning on some privacy functions wayyy back during their the early Facebook days, but when I checked months later, it was auto-turned off too. I just got tired of it all, and have decided to take off some pics, limit the amount of personal info available on Facebook,etc.
If you're not in total control of the privacy functions, then we'll just have to do some self-censorship here ay.
No worries about the typo—I ﬁgured that’s what you meant.Post a Comment
I’m not surprised at our data being out there. It is where all the spam comes from and I remember that among the spam many years ago were CDs containing this very sort of information.
Like you, I limit what I put on to Facebook. I just don’t trust it, and that’s bad for a brand.
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