Facebook to show more ads to its users
Facebook's chief privacy officer outlines how Facebook will utilize users' posts to create a more targeted ad experience.
Mon, May 14 2012 at 5:36 PM
Photo: Joel Saget/AFP
On May 14, Facebook hosted a live chat with its chief privacy officer Erin Egan to answer questions about the company's guide to privacy.
The 30-minute session answered 11 selected questions submitted by members that covered a broad range of privacy questions, but none that were controversial. Viewers were able to post comments during the program and one person wrote, "Enough with the softball questions. Take a hard question already" — but that didn't happen.
Several questions dealt with Timeline, Facebook's replacement for user profiles. Egan stressed that privacy controls can be set for each piece of information users share between themselves and others and from activities within apps like Spotify and SocialCam. More important, those settings can be changed at any time.
"If I comment on your post that is shared among friends and you later change your post to 'public,' my comment becomes public," Egan explained. So think before you comment — there's always the possibility that something you say can be shared with the world.
User privacy may not have changed, but Facebook's advertising policy has changed, Egan said. If you "like" a page that's connected to Facebook or mention an activity in a post, the company may later serve you an ad that's related to either of those two actions. Like Coke's page? Don't be surprised to see an ad on your page. Mention running in an update? You may see an ad for running shoes. Further — and this is new — Facebook may use the data it has collected about you to show you ads on sites other than Facebook as well.
"We're not doing that, but we might," Egan said.
Facebook has also extended the amount of time it retains your data from 180 days to "as long as necessary to provide services."
If you're curious about what Facebook knows about you, Egan suggested members use the site's Download Information tool, available in standard and enhanced versions. While she said even the expanded archive doesn't contain all of the data Facebook has stored about you, there's quite a bit.
However, what's not included, such as what data has been used to deliver personalized ads, left viewers wondering just what else Facebook knows and who it has shared it with, a topic that Egan did not address.
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- How to Stop Facebook Apps from Sharing Your Info
- Top 6 Facebook Annoyances and How to Fix Them
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