One of the ways that covering technology is fun is watching publicity departments tie themselves in knots trying to explain the latest terrible invasive feature their company is rolling out. Facebook’s PR department, in particular, must all be drunk by 10am considering some of the stuff they have to write. Even by that standard, though, their pitch on why it’s great Facebook is now selling your browsing history wholesale is a work of art.
Take, for example, the opening paragraph of their blog entry explaining this. Heck, just take the first sentence:
When we ask people about our ads, one of the top things they tell us is that they want to see ads that are more relevant to their interests. Today, we learn about your interests primarily from the things you do on Facebook, such as Pages you like. Starting soon in the US, we will also include information from some of the websites and apps you use. This is a type of interest-based advertising, and many companies already do this.
Then they go on to explain that you can totally opt out of this, if you want, but why would you want to when you love Facebook so much? By the way, to choose to opt out, you can’t actually do that on Facebook in your privacy settings. You have to go AboutAds.Info and sign up for the beta of their online behavioral advertising opt-out. Nothing shows the pride you have in a feature like forcing the consumer to go off-site to do paperwork for something that may not actually function properly yet.
Also, Facebook is including a feature called Ad Preferences, where you can tell Facebook what categories you don’t care about to make it easier for them to sell you ads. They don’t go quite as far as to say you should be proud to make life easier for Facebook’s ad sales team, but that’s implied heavily.
So, yes, somehow, Facebook has found a way to get even more invasive. But at least they can’t get any more invasive without using medical probes or something. But we’re sure that’s in the works too.