- Why I'm not worried about Facebook security
- 2010-05-31: I'm no security expert, but all the fuss about Facebook privacy seems to be missing a couple of things.
- First, have you noticed how arguments and rows don't reach Facebook? When people split or divorce, all you see is their status one day turns to 'single'. That's because Facebook isn't real life. It's a shopfront for you. On Facebook, you show people what you want them to know about you. It's not really you.
- So, OK, people can know I enjoyed a day in Ikley and don't want to eat pork scratchings. Is that so bad? I'm not going to upload what I don't want people to know, basically. So we are all filtering what appears.
- People are getting hot under the collar about their privacy being breached, but it's not really you that's been let out, it's the image of you that you've already decided is right for others to see.
- Also, targeting is good. We think ads are an irritating intrusion, but that's only when they are mistargeted. Shake n vac probably wasn't targeted at you. So, if you have pet rabbits and someone wants to advertise cages, toys and rabbit food to you .. that's OK isn't it?
- It raises other issues which I am deeply concerned about, but they exist now and I don't see people ranting about them. When you walk into a supermarket you do battle with years of serious work and whole teams of people whose aim it is to extract as much money from you as possible using all sorts of psychological trickery. Versus that, is just little old you. An uneven battle don't you think? That's worth a great deal of concern because it turns out many of our actions aren't really in our conscious control even though we think they are. Marketers know this.
- Wouldn't it be at least a little bit better if they used that sorcery to get you to buy things that you might actually want, rather than rubbish you don't? If, through Facebook, it turns out you like .. oh well let's try it. I'll pick someone off the top of my Facebook news feed: OK, she's a woman aged maybe 40, university educated, and she likes folk music. OK, so she might buy a cardigan, but probably won't buy a glo-brite under car lighting system.
- In principle, it's even good for business diversity. If only Argos et al can afford to advertise because it can satisfy a wide range of needs, then we'll get an Argos world. If some folksy cardigan knitting person can find my friend and sell her a cardigan by placing a highly targeted ad, I think that's a better world.
- So, if my friend's Facebook contains targeted ads, it means her world is reacting to what she wants. If she's interested in folk music, a targeted ads world makes it easier for her to find what makes her happy. In the main, I think that's a really good thing.
By John Allsopp
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