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You Might Be Seeing Some Very Targeted Ads on Facebook Soon: Here’s Why

the internet is serious business

Facebook is pretty secretive with its plans for changing the site, but thanks to the feature going temporarily live to some premium advertisers on Facebook, we now know that Facebook is planning on letting advertisers find people on Facebook using information they may have already collected about their clients: emails, phone numbers, etc.

I know what you’re thinking: “AW HECK NO.” But this is actually not as bad as it sounds. Well. It’s not as bad as the worst case scenario of how it sounds, anyway.

Basically Facebook will allow businesses that are trying to reach customers through ads on Facebook to upload customer contact info. That info, containing anything from phone numbers to emails to user IDs will be hashed (reduced to math, so that Facebook can’t actually access the real information), and compared to similarly hashed Facebook information. The business will then have the option to target ads to the user profiles that Facebook has determined matches the info they’ve already gathered about their customers. Neither side gets access to new user info, and the businesses don’t get to see any individual profiles.

Techcrunch has a few ideas about how that might be used:

Businesses will have the option target their ads at that group, or they can further target their content towards a certain demographic (say, females between 25 and 45) within the group. The simplest use case: Most businesses have loyal customers who aren’t Facebook fans, so they can create an ad for those customers asking them to become fans. Advertisers can also offer deals — an auto repair shop could tell customers that they’ll get a free oil change if they become a fan. It’s applicable beyond brick-and-mortar businesses too — an app developer could target lapsed users with an ad outlining the features in a new update.

What will this look like on the user side? Maybe… some ads that are actually relevant to a user’s actual life? Probably… some ads so suspiciously relevant to your life that you might assume that Facebook has been selling your info despite your rigid privacy settings. So it’s a good thing you read this article!

(via Techcrunch.)

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Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.