In my last post, I talked about people clicking on ads when it is relevant to them. Achieving this relevance is difficult, especially as you have to do so whilst still respecting an individual’s privacy. Facebook realised what can happen when you do not respect an individual’s privacy when it launched the Facebook Beacon. It allowed purchasing habits from Facebook’s partners to be given to Facebook and publicised to their friends and family through the newsfeed. They backtracked (see previous post), but not completely. It is interesting to see that based on the reduction in outcry over Facebook Beacon following the changes, the individual is willing to allow Facebook to have knowledge about their purchase habits as long as they do not tell their friends and colleagues.
I do not think this will stand the test of time, Facebook will surely end up having to allow users to remove this info if they wish. In the UK at least, an individual can request that a company ceases to use information for the purpose of direct marketing.
The question then becomes whether banners and search ads are direct marketing..
and whether Facebook is liable under UK law.