As you may be aware, Facebook has been in the news lately.
Mark Zuckerberg, the Founder, and CEO even spent two days testifying before Congress.
What happened and why is it a big deal?
First, it’s a big deal because the news media decided to make it one.
Someone realized that a company that helped President Trump get elected used information that they got from Facebook (against Facebook Terms of Service), to help him win the election.
Did this really happen? Did they have secret information no one else had?
Nope, they didn’t. All of us who market on Facebook have access to more up to date information then what was supposedly being used.
Also, many of the candidates who used the same company (Cambridge Analytica) didn’t win their elections. If the data was so valuable, why didn’t they win too?
Let’s go back and see what happened according to various blogs, articles, and podcasts I listen to or read, as well as what signs I see from being in the industry.
Up until 2014, Facebook was very open to sharing data with App developers. They didn’t realize how much money was potentially involved and they naively thought that others would follow Facebook’s Terms of Service without question.
However, in reality, the data was being gathered and used for purposes that Facebook didn’t intend.
Once Facebook realized this they made changes to what data they shared, and this did cause some concerns in the App Developer community. They expected Facebook to share all their data and even considered it a right.
The earlier Facebook terms of service allowed an App Developer to collect data on everyone who connected to the Facebook app and all of their friends.
Now, this isn’t the identity fraud kind of data like credit card numbers, social security numbers, and bank account numbers. It is the data that you post on your Facebook page like your relationship status, where you went to school and other information you’ve entered yourself.
Facebook has more data on us than this, but none of that data was accessed.
And then you also have to look at the fact that this data was getting old; it was gathered in 2014. It’s now four years old and Facebook hasn’t allowed the data to be refreshed by this company or any others.
Back in 2014 Facebook did make changes to plug this hole, and since then they have made many changes to the platform in order to plug other data holes too.
Currently, Facebook seemed to have paused some new project developments so that they can go back and analyze how different apps integrate with Facebook and reevaluate who has access to what information.
What it looks like is that Facebook is growing up and taking responsibility for what happened and working to ensure that it or something like it doesn’t happen again.
What also made the whole issue complex is that the average user of Facebook has no idea about the data collection and what it’s used for.
As marketers, we know that the data is being collected and then used to target ads to users. Facebook, Google, and most other online companies use this business model, as it’s very profitable.
Facebook’s goal is to give each of their users a good experience. They want everyone to connect with friends, businesses, and issues/concerns that interest them so that they have a better life.
And let’s face it; we want to see what makes our life better. I like getting ads from Marketers, computer makers, new video tools as well as many different interests in my newsfeed. It helps me stay current with what is happening.
Now you may be saying “Brian, that’s just because you are a marketer, what about the rest of us?”
Well, my wife looks at books and items of interest to her on Facebook, my mother-in-law who is approaching 80 years old, buys sewing or knitting patterns and tools, shoes, and other items on Facebook.
These are just 2 other examples, but if the results of our clients’ campaigns are any indication, there are 100’s of thousands of people doing the same thing.
So far Facebook users seem to be content with the status of Facebook, and the people who don’t use Facebook are saying “here is another reason why I’ll never use it”. So, the conversation is right where it’s always been, 100’s of millions enjoying Facebook and others who are not interested.
What does this mean for us as marketers?
Read my next article to get the lowdown.
For an in-depth look at what a complete Facebook marketing system looks like, sign up for my FREE Masterclass on Facebook marketing: Go Social Experts Facebook Marketing Masterclass. This Free class is a 5-day video course with a video each day, which goes into detail about each of the five steps for creating a profitable Facebook marketing machine.
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Have a great day!