It’s a marketers dream but a privacy nightmare. When your e-mail address is paired with your Facebook account, your intimate data can be in the hands of marketers; and you pretty much can’t do anything about it.
Advertising is all about targeting. The more we know about you, all the better. It allows us to compose a message or communication that would be more relevant, interesting and personalised to you, which increases the chance of you taking action. As in make the call or click to buy and if it’s a really irresistible offer; run to the nearest store in your underclothes.
Facebook is a record of your life online. From general biodata and perhaps your work information to things you like and brands you prefer. If a marketer is able to access your information, he will be able to personalise a piece of communication that has a higher chance of making you pull out your wallet.
Can marketers access your Facebook data? Absolutely!
All someone needs to do is enter your e-mail address into a data mining program, which will then pull and store your personal Facebook data. At the very least, they will be able to access your name and see your profile picture. And if your Facebook privacy settings are not set to the highest, then even more data such as location, friends, hometown, activities and “Likes” can be retrieved.
Another way is to create dodgy or silly Facebook applications which requires you to “install” or “allow” to use. This is even worse because these apps can pull basically all your Facebook details, including the names and images of all your friends.
Your e-mail address is possibly the most precious thing you own thanks to Facebook. Online marketers as it is are fighting tooth and nail to gather as much e-mail addresses as possible for blind e-mail blasting. And now they have the power of pairing e-mail addresses with Facebook data to gain deeper consumer insights.
There will come a time when marketers may know exactly who you are, where you live, what you do, what you like, what you drive and possibly even what you just had for dinner. And the more of yourself you put online, the happier unscrupulous marketers get.
So safeguard your e-mail with your life and never go into specifics while on Facebook. It’s just not worth it.
P.S. Even more disturbingly, more and more Malaysians are falling prey to cyber scams thanks to Facebook. This is something I will look into in my future post; just need a bit more data. Stay tuned.