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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Facebook Will Disclose Members’ Data to Marketers

It seems that Facebook’s experiment in monetizing data harvesting moved to another level. Now the portal will open up its database to the marketers who are able to use personal data they have accrued, like phone numbers and email addresses, in order to find potential customers.

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Facebook’s stipulation is that the marketer must already have some of the personal information on their records. Otherwise, Mark Zuckerberg is enabling marketing departments to hunt down clients, present or former, on the social network. The marketers will then be able to use the information to stalk people across the social network just in a week.

However, there’s one niggling question left. Everyone having a telephone realizes that, even with using opt-out services in order to hide your number from the public record, if one unscrupulous marketer gets their hands on the phone number, it will becomes public domain for both the cold callers and scammers.

The clauses saying that the companies may pass over data to relevant 3rd parties, with your consent, upon joining them, are usually hidden in terms and conditions of numerous email sign-ups and member websites. Indeed, in some cases it’s as easy to do as accidentally leave a box un-ticked on some sign-up form – and you will see the others passing and selling you information without an obvious record. In fact, opting out of such services is not the sender’s responsibility, but rather the receiver’s.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook was heavily criticized, and the company claims that the marketers must receive the permission of their clients to use that information before they can start tracking them. 

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