You know, there are days when I open an article and I have to read it three times to make sure the Onion hasn’t hacked my browser to screw with me. Take the opening of this CNet article:
Facebook plans to roll out a new advertising tool that will let companies target their ads to existing customers based on their phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
Oh but it gets worse! Of course it gets worse! If there’s one thing I’ve learned covering this company/watching its behavior in utter horror, it’s that it can always get worse. Is Facebook giving out your email address and phone number? No! Instead:
What this means is Facebook isn’t giving any of your data away, it’s taking existing numbers and addresses from businesses and letting those businesses use the information to target its ads.
That’s. Not. Better! In human language, this means that every annoying business that sends you those flyers you can’t escape and those businesses that got your cellphone number because you filled out a contest form in a steakhouse can now find your Facebook and spam you there, too. But, again, this is Facebook, so it gets even worse.
Facebook hashes the data before it places the ads, and then erases the data. Which would be great except for the minor problem that it’s not impossible to crack a hash. Hard, but not impossible. So Facebook isn’t keeping your data. But it’s still basically doing the bare minimum to protect this data. So, in short, Facebook has decided to become simultaneously a crappy shredding company and an annoying telemarketer.
I, meanwhile, will continue to believe the Onion is stalking me, because frankly I’d rather live in a world where a bunch of comedians hunt me across the Internet than one where telemarketing invades social media.
image courtesy Ghost of Goldwater on Flickr