In a bid to increase its revenues from mobiles, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) now plans to introduce an application that will track what people do on their mobile devices.
The information gleaned from this application will be used by the social network to place ads that will be consumer specific. Of course, this means an intrusion into customer privacy by Facebook, but then the company has never been apologetic about this.
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Through Facebook Connect, that allows users to log into other sites as well including Amazon.com, LinkedIn and Yelp among others, the company already does some tracking of what its users are upto on their phones.
The new app will go one step further to what and track what the people are actually doing on those apps and sites. For instance, if you log on to Amazon.com and buy a book on scuba diving, you will be the target for ads from adventure sports companies related to that particular discipline.
Some amount of tracking is always present when users click on ads online, it is not unduly intrusive. Apple does warn users that it can target ads based on the apps downloaded from its store, while Google does not do this kind of targeted advertising. Both of them do not track what users do in their apps to target ads.
According to reports, since Facebook would have inside information on what its user's interest are, it would charge advertisers when an app is installed by a user. Revenues for installing ads are much higher than for clicking on ads.
You can expect your Friends' News Feeds now to be cluttered with these ads, if you are accessing Facebook on a mobile device.
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What is worrying is that ads will target a user without taking permission from that user. So irrespective of whether you like the brand or not, you may be the target of such ads.
We can only hope when it is finally launched, we have the option to switch off such intrusive ads if we don't want to see it.