The Pros and Cons of Data Mining with Facebook Applications

This is a guest post by Jessy. If you want to guest post on this site, then please read our guidelines here.

By now, just about everybody knows that using social plugins from Facebook and allowing Opengraph lets your data be mined and used.

On the one hand we have to accept that Facebook is a public platform and that privacy is a very subjective term. On the other hand, some people feel there are limits to everything – including the regular changes in Facebook’s privacy policy.

On a positive note:

  • By being able to study your behavior, likes and dislikes advertisers are able to provide more targeted adverts – which are more likely to be something you may want. Your history is taken into account in order to provide less irrelevant ads. Quite the contrary in fact – you are likely to be served with tailored offers based on your unique behavior.
  • The fact that the information is shared, allows you to see what your friends are interested in. To many people, this could be important – especially for someone who wants to buy an item, but has no clue about making a good choice, and needs to rely on the judgment of others.
  • If you have already decided you like a product or company, you would probably welcome the benefits brought about by the targeted applications.

On the negative side:

  • Knowing that your data is going to be used and possibly abused could create a psychological barrier. As human beings, we tend to be selective about what we share with whom. As such, knowing the potential consequences of allowing any application is likely to be a deterrent for many folks.
  • Wherever any private information is being collected, there is always the possibility of abuse. Your information could be sold by unscrupulous companies – and you have no control over that. You may sign up for something which is taken over by another company with different views. Additionally, it is possible that you can be sent excessive information – it happened with email, and Facebook is just another medium open to abuse.
  • Living in a bubble – while it might be nice to only see things you are interested in, could also cut you off from being exposed to new things that may be of interest to you. If your activities on Facebook do not include all your interests, you will undoubtedly not be served with ads relating to all of your interests.
  • For some, the lack of privacy may really become an issue – not everybody wants everybody to know what they just bought or did (at least not all of the time).

How these will affect you is likely to be a matter of personal preference. For some it may be a problem, and for some it won’t. As the average user becomes better informed however, we may just very well see a reduction in the numbers of people allowing Opengraph.

Jessy is a frugal blogger and SAHM earning her living online and working as a social media strategist for Home Loan Finder, the free tool to compare home loans online.

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