Facebook is perhaps the ultimate example of the old, wise saying. If you aren’t paying for a product, then you ARE the product. Most people are already aware of the fact that Facebook’s revenues comes from advertising. And advertising means nothing if nobody sees it. That’s why Facebook needs you. Seems like this very popular site actually is a giant lab that tests on-line marketing schemes, and how far the line can be pushed before users cry out.
A recent incident here in Finland reminds us of this. Sorry, link only in Finnish. In this case people kept seeing “likes” from a friend that passed away half a year ago. How is that possible?
Liking a commercial product or company is not just a one-time event. It is more like signing up on a list of people who gives the company carte blanche to use them for marketing purposes. You agree to be a mannequin both in Facebook and on other sites. Your name and face may be used in any context, maybe in ways that you couldn’t imagine when liking the company, like advertising a product that you didn’t even know existed. And they can re-use you over and over endlessly. That’s what happened to the dead man. Facebook can’t naturally know that a person is deceased unless the relatives gives them appropriate notice. But incidents like this still underline how detached this kind of marketing is from what people really like and endorse.
Even worse. Some claim that ghost-likes appear in Facebook. People have raised eyebrows when their friends show up beside ads about things they clearly dislike, and swear that they never liked. Facebook’s defense is to claim that they have liked something by mistake. Probably true in some cases, but does that really cover all of it? Doesn’t sound entirely convincing to me.
Time for some concrete advice:
But what about campaigns where you have to like something to participate? Well, now you know what’s the name of the game. It’s your call to decide if it is worth it or not. If you choose to participate, you can always remove the like after the campaign.
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