Facebook is to start using the information it harvests from its 1.3bn members to sell adverts on third-party websites, marking a major step in its evolution from social network to data-mining behemoth.
The development, styled by Facebook as “personalized marketing”, opens the door to a major new revenue stream, but is also likely to reignite concerns over users’ privacy.
The San Francisco company has already established itself as the second-largest advertising platform in the world, by culling information about members’ interests, habits and demographic to ensure that adverts on Facebook are carefully targeted at the users most likely to act on them.
That practice has already sparked widespread controversy over how much data Facebook should be allowed to collect, and how much it should be able to exploit it. Read more…