If you use Facebook, you’ve probably noticed that you’re often in a race with the site to make sure your privacy settings remain private. It seems like a constant battle to update, make sure you’ve got all the settings the way they need to be… It can sort of feel like that moment when you’re checking to make sure your skirt isn’t accidentally tucked in your waistband? C’mon ladies – we’ve all had that moment right? Just me? *blush* Okay – let’s move on then.
There’s a good reason for that. When it comes to Facebook, you aren’t the customer. You’re not the client. Or the consumer. In this instance, you’re the product. Think about that for a minute. YOU are what Facebook is trying to sell to make money. That’s why we can sign all the petitions we want and make the protests we want, but in the long run, we’re still gonna end up stuck with Timeline and unchecking those ‘personalize’ boxes in all of our profiles.
You see, Facebook makes money with advertisements and going to the big companies to sell…you. How many people are on Facebook? How often do they click on an ad? How much do they tell everyone what they are doing? How about checking in at a store or a restaurant? That’s what they take to these companies and the companies, in turn, buy advertising that appeals to you.
Last Christmas one of my friends posted a screen cap of the images on his computer. It had my name, my picture, and the message “Lori Twichell likes Starbucks. Why don’t you give her a gift?” Another of my friends posted a link to a funny item she found on Amazon.com. That post stayed at the top of my news feed for weeks. Why did it stay there? Cause Facebook has a deal with Amazon and when my friend posted that link, it alerted something somewhere and Amazon paid for it to stay on my news feed.
It’s frustrating when you consider it that way right? But keeping that in mind can also help you remember what you’re comfortable putting on the site. And it might alleviate some of the stress over “Why aren’t they listening to me?? I don’t WANT timeline!”
Keeping that perspective in mind might also help you be more vigilant about your security settings and what the updates to apps and Facebook mean for your privacy. It’s also important to remember this on your business pages. Make sure you are aware of what you’re putting out there and that if it’s on Facebook, it belongs to them – not you.