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Privacy Vs The Right To Advertise: Is Facebook Going Too Far?

Shocking New FB terms and conditions arrive in January

By: David Soffer  |@David_Soffer
 on 5th December 2014 @ 4.36pm
facebook ceo mark zuckerberg has always denied allegations that information has been sold to 3rd party companies  © WikiMedia
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has always denied allegations that information has been sold to 3rd party companies.

The turn of 2015 will bring many things we hope; good luck, success, happiness and the like. However, something else it will bring is a change in Facebook’s terms and conditions. These paragraphs of text found in the depths of our favourite website are rarely read.

 

However, the new terms and conditions will allow Facebook to see a little bit more of your personal information, which may in turn be shared with third parties ranging from the CIA and NSA to marketing companies and advertisers.

Rarely do we consider just how much of our lives are actually online. Photos, feelings, likes, dislikes, places we’ve been to; the lot. For the majority of us, Facebook is the social media tool of choice; after all, it’s slick, easy to use and fun to browse. However, reading the small print might alarm some of you. Facebook have set out new terms and conditions and it makes grim reading for those of you concerned with what you might wish to share.

In short, these terms and conditions state that by continuing your use of the social media giant, you are consenting to various bits of your personal information being shared with certain third parties.

It’s fair to say that if it should ever be the case that something picked up on Facebook is used by an intelligence service to thwart even one terrorist plot, it would be a good thing.

An inquest into the brutal killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby in 2013 found that the two terrorists who killed the unarmed soldier on the streets of London had discussed some details via Facebook. Perhaps had this been shared with specific intelligence agencies, Fusilier Rigby would still be with us.

The thing is the majority of our personal information that Facebook is going to use from the New Year, is going to be shared with advertisers and marketing firms for the most part.

This latest move by Facebook, which has well over 1 billion users the world over is being touted as an invasion of our privacy going too far. Why should we have our details shared with a third party which, let’s be honest, won’t help us all that much?

Also, does this mean that we should expect aggressive advertising to grace our internet browsers from now on as a result of what Facebook have collected about us? Should we expect endless pop-ups and webpage-distorting adverts?

this latest move by facebook  which has well over 1 billion users the world over is being touted as an invasion of our privacy going too far © Wikipedia
This latest move by Facebook, which has well over 1 billion users the world over is being touted as an invasion of our privacy going too far.

The information Facebook will be focusing on collecting and sharing includes the location data for photos and videos shared, what content you look at via Facebook and for how long, and the location of the device with which you are accessing Facebook.

It’s fair to say that it is very much the case nowadays that if something is ‘free’ in the sense of money; you will probably end up paying for it in another way. In the case of Facebook which is seen by many as a ‘right’ and a ‘public-type’ company, this ‘price’ is personal information and browsing data.

At the end of the day, Facebook is not a public company. It is owned by shareholders who want to get more and more out of what is an ingenious business structure. They aren’t too concerned with getting bogged down with peoples’ privacy; they have information and they want to use it. It’s worth a lot of money after all. Moreover, it is that information which is worth millions of dollars to the advertisers.

Another point to add is that unfortunately, Facebook is an expensive thing to run. From the giant servers they use, to the staff they employ and even to the upkeep of their offices; none of this comes on the cheap though. Therefore, in a world where competition is very much necessary for big businesses, Facebook surely see this latest move as a way of remaining at the top of the ‘social media ladder.’

The ‘good’ news though, is that if you read through the terms and conditions, it is relatively clear what details Facebook will be sharing; not that it makes any difference.

Originally started from the college dorm room of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook has grown into a worldwide brand and a part of life for most of us. It is worth tens of billions of dollars and possesses swathes of information on so many people; famous or otherwise.

So, at the end of it all, has Facebook lost touch with its original purpose to connect people around the world, or are these latest moves just a way to keep this giant going for years to come?

tags: People | Facebook

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