Posted by: pcordell | October 8, 2012

Which came first, the advertiser or the individual?

Just days before Facebook went public, NPR host Neal Conan spoke with tech columnist Farhad Manjoo, who warned Facebook users to expect many more personally targeted ads. Speculation about the impending changes  was big news. Manjoo predicted Facebook will be offering advertisers more and more personal information mined from users’ accounts to increase income for stockholders.

MANJOO:  it’s a basic math problem for Facebook. They’re running out of people on the planet to get on the site, and so what they have to do is get essentially more money from each of those people. 

… once you go public, once you sort of are beholden to investors, companies have to do a lot of things that, I think, they don’t expect to do at the start, and they might not like to do… But over time, as investors kind of demand more, I think the advertisers could, you know, win out in some ways over what we want as users.                 

According to Manjoo, users will receive ads based upon current interests as defined by information-mining algorithms.  Options to decide for ourselves, to explore, to stumble across new concepts. will decrease.  Some websites already employ this predetermined-advertising technique.  Does that make you, as a Facebook user, feel more secure and safe from ideas and advertisements you don’t care to encounter, or do you feel your options and experiences spiraling into an ever smaller, more claustrophobic world?


  1. To be a critical thinker, it has been suggested to read and follow media that you do not agree with to see what the other side thinks. I would hate to see something in my newsfeed that I have followed for purely informational purposes to be posted for others to assume that I agree with. We, the consumer should have an “opt out” feature.

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