Facebook: Instant Personalization or Instant Privacy Violation?
In the Digital Media era, the most important good is information. Therefore, information has become the new universal currency, we all exchange information, and somehow pay with information in return. For perspective, Facebook users are receiving an excellent networking service and in exchange users are providing Facebook with valuable information about trends and behaviors.
Based on this assumption, we can understand that Facebook’s business strategy is create a sustainable model that generates a huge and rich database of user that allows them to sell targeted advertising. However, the idea of offering the most efficient user data driven advertising, brings a challenge for Facebook, how to get more and more user data.
My understanding is that Facebook’s technological improvements are meant to provide a better product to both players in its model: users and advertisers. This will translate into a sustainable business model that is profitable for Facebook without needing to charge users for the use of a best-in-class Social Network service. Part of being a great service is to be transparent with their users, which are the fundamental pillar of the model. On this regard, I would recommend Facebook to improve the execution of this and future initiatives by addressing two opportunities: (i) Communication to Users: Clear and simple communication to users of the changes being made and (ii) Opt-in vs. Opt-out: Offer users the opportunity to opt-in the new features after explaining what it is about.
Concerning recommendation (i), Facebook has a major opportunity on leading the communication of its product innovation. By not putting any efforts (other than including new questions to their Q&A in its Help Center), they are opting for avoiding any noise in the system, however they are opening the door to others, such as bloggers, politians and their most tech-savvy users talk negatively about the new features.
Regarding recommendation (ii), Facebook should offer users the ability to opt-in to sharing such information, instead of opting out, and should make the process for doing so more coherent and user-friendly.