Facebook’s decision to sell you

Notice something new in your newsfeed? Maybe its a band you’ve put in the favorite music section of your profile. Suddenly they are showing up in your newsfeed even though you haven’t officially “liked” them.You are suddenly getting updates from their new tour, a show is in your area and a new limited edition album is coming out next week. Sure, it sounds pretty good to you. You like the band and maybe you’re interested in what’s showing up.

Guess what? That’s exactly what Facebook and advertisers want.

Facebook is a treasure trove of personal information on you, the consumer, providing the most in-depth access to the things you are likely to buy and be interested in. This information does not just come from the way you’ve set up your profile. .

The valuable information that advertisers covet is the information that you post, the links you share with friends, and now, with Facebook Places, the restaurants and bars that you frequent. Never before has so much individual knowledge been housed in one distinct space (except maybe at Google) and that’s what Facebook is betting on.

This year, Facebook launched “Sponsored Stories,” a service for advertisers that picks up when you mention say Starbucks or Urban Outfitters in a post. These “stories” then become featured more prominently on a sidebar or in your friend’s newsfeeds. Every time you “check in” to a restaurant or a store, that check-in can then be picked up by Facebook and broadcast to your friends.

These stories often appear as innocuously as any other newsfeed story, yet they show up more often, reinforcing the idea in your head that X company is good and referred by someone you trust (a friend), which is better than any commercial that company could run.

According to Readwritebiz,” sponsored stories” have a 46% higher click-through rate than regular ads on Facebook.

What to know the kicker?

You can’t opt out of these sponsored stories. As soon as you start using Places or writing about a particular company, if that company has paid for it, your story gets sponsored. So add that to your list of ways Facebook is turning into an Advertising Big Brother.

It’s like I always say. The difference between movies and real life is that the evil villain in real life doesn’t want to rule the world, he just wants more money.  Cue Mark Zuckerberg doing one of these:

If you want to learn more check out this article at eweek.

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