A two-year agreement between credit card company, Mastercard and the social network, Facebook has enabled Mastercard to start mining Facebook users’ activity data to sell the consumer behaviour insights on to banks.
Not only is the company mining Facebook users’ profile information, but their conversations on the social network and engagement with ad campaigns are being targeted as well. All this data is then processed and stored in Mastercard’s new marketing technology called ‘Priceless Engine’.
"Priceless Engine [is] an innovative new platform for marketing that allows the brand to provide its bank partners with the deep insights that help them deliver the right offers to their customers at the right time," said Mastercard in a statement.
"We applaud what Mastercard is doing with their 'Priceless Engine' but, to clarify, we are not providing them, or any other company, personal data of Facebook users. We are working with them to create targeting clusters using Custom Audiences — a tool that matches anonymised data from Facebook with their own anonymised data for optimising ad delivery on Facebook to their users," said a Facebook Australia spokeswoman.
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Social media giant, Facebook turned 10 this year, and has changed a lot since its humble beginning as thefacebook, created in Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room at Harvard. Since then, the website has gone from strength to strength growing with popularity around the world. In 2012, Facebook held a public offering of shares before listing on the stock exchange, moving into the Fortune 500 list with a company value of more than $100 billion.
Facebook is a story of successful growth from one simple idea, but somewhere along the way it became less about connecting people and more about making money. Over the past five years I have seen the privacy of users diminish, and the Timeline increasingly filled with more advertisements than a commercial break on television.
Facebook, as a company, has every right to seek revenue from every source possible, but mining the behavioural data of user’s conversations and selling it onto the banks is a step too far for my liking. Let’s hope they reconsider their position in two years’ time when the agreement is up for renewal, or that a genuine competitor, who respects the rights of the user, enters the market.
What do you think? Should Facebook have the right to sell customer behaviour data that they capture from their network? Have you deactivated your Facebook account recently due to privacy concerns? If there was a genuine competitor, who respected your privacy, would you switch from Facebook?
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