Perhaps one reason behind the recent changes at Facebook is that this social web outfit wants to make itself more advertiser-friendly. Last June, Facebook and giant ad agency powerhouse Interpublic Group (IPG) signed a deal that is all about the harvesting of data. IPGâ€™s investment gives it the clout to engage in â€œmining Facebook for market research trends among its young user base.â€ In exchange for buying .05 percent of Facebook by agreeing to spend around $10 million worth of ads, IPG is able to â€œparticipate in marketing programs on the website, including online advertising and promotions, as well as pilot programs involving sponsorships, consumer research and content creation on behalf of its clients.â€
Of course, there’s also the new major (last month) advertising deal with Microsoft. According to the press release, “[A]dvanced technology from Microsoft and Facebook will help connect advertisers with Facebook users in more relevant, innovative ways through a combination of graphical ad placements, as well as automated text-based advertisements targeted to content and, over time, aggregate user behavior on an anonymous basis.â€
Weâ€™re glad thereâ€™s a protest, and users feel their privacy has been violated. But Facebook and other social networking sites, such as MySpace, need to come clean about how their mega-marketing deals with advertisers/marketers threatens everyoneâ€™s privacy (at the very least!). We hope there will be more protests focused on social networking sites and their advertising/marketing deals and plans.