You have to read between the lines to understand what Facebook’s new location feature is really designed to do:Â Open you and your friends to be more closely tracked by Facebook and its marketing partners, including major advertisers [Fans are worth money to Facebook and their marketing partners].Â Â On Facebook’s blog post on the new location service [which is written in typical Silicon Valley PRspeak suggesting they are doing this only to bring pleasure into your life], the key telling phrase is: “You may want to share your check-in information with third-party applications that build interesting experiences around location, such as travel planning. Applications you use must receive your permission before getting this information. Your friends will be able to share your check-ins with the applications they use to help create new social experiences with location.”
That really means Facebook already has plans to use location data to expand its marketing business (inc. from thrid part apps), which is expected to help the social network bring in $1 billion this year.Â Mobile and location applications require greater safeguards for privacy, as my CDD and USPIRG petitioned the FTC to do last year [as a result the FTC has opened up a “mobile lab” examining data collection and mobile marketing practices]. Companies such as Facebook. Google, Foursquare, and others are keenly aware of the huge ad revenue opportunity from location marketing.Â One Google backed location social game start-up [SCVNVR] calls this potential the “social coefficient.”Â As Mobile Marketer reported, the “Social Coefficient is a score determined by the number of social interactions at a specific location…The more friends at one place or the more users participating in the challenges over time, the higher the Social Coefficient score for that particular location.”Â Facebook and others understand that advertisers are willing to pay more if they can encourage friends to market to other friends.Â
McDonald’s is already in discussion with Facebook to use this new service.