Facebook will reportedly announce today that it will give users more control over which ads they see.
From the New York Times:
Facebook plans to announce on Thursday that it is going to give its users the ability to see the dossiers of likes and interests it keeps on them, as well as the ability to change, add or delete information in those files. And if you don’t like an ad, you will be able to tell the social network what types of marketing messages you would rather see.
It’s arguably nice of Facebook to offer a little more transparency and give users some control over this.
But before we laud the company, let’s make sure to acknowledge this really means Facebook is going to the source in figuring out how to get you to buy more stuff from their advertisers. They—like any media company, social or otherwise—have always wanted to know which kinds of ads you want to see and have tried their darndest to figure it out. Still, who’d know better than you?
Also from the Times:
For Facebook, giving users more control could be smart business. A record of user interests--gathered by tracking their activity on the site--is the basis of ad targeting on the social network. Companies are likely to buy more ads and pay higher prices if they know that their pitches are reaching a receptive audience.
Facebook will also soon begin gaining info on your interests by examining what you do on other websites that interact with the service. Previously, the company’s profile of what to serve you was mostly based on what you did on Facebook itself.
Your opinion on whether or not this is a good thing probably has to do with your opinion with targeted advertising, which probably has to do with your opinion on advertising in general. (By the way, do you watch QVC?) It should be noted, those opinions probably have at least a little to do with your thoughts on whether or not services like Facebook should be free for users.