While driving through the Mojave Desert this week, my son turned on a podcast in which the host discussed the ongoing privacy battle between Apple and Facebook. Tim Cook believes people should have the power to opt out of application tracking, Mark Zuckerberg disagrees and says it will be damaging to his social media platform.
While I will allow application tracking, I enjoy the personalized ads experience and, let’s face it, advertising is my job, on a personal level it still leaves me with a feeling of unease. Don’t even get me started on Google. If you are worried about Facebook and use Google, you should take a look for yourself. It is nice to see local ads while traveling, and it gives you the opportunity to discover local businesses and attractions that would have otherwise not been on your radar.
One of Zuck’s points was that Facebook provides a free platform for people to connect, and it is made possible by advertising. It is difficult to feel any sympathy for his plight when there is no human interaction from Facebook’s side when a user has technical issues. We have had a post flagged as inappropriate content; resolving the issue took days of back and forth with whatever entity sits behind their curtain. It was a picture of a road.
Countless friends have been cautioned or “put in Facebook jail” for innocuous posts that Facebook’s algorithm keys in on and flags as offensive content. If you “like” posts or invite people to like your business page too quickly, Facebook will remove your ability to do so for a certain amount of time. It has happened to many professionals, and getting a quick resolution is impossible.
My decision to allow tracking on the Facebook platform will have everything to do with enjoying a personalized ad experience based on my demographic, behavior, and location and absolutely nothing to do with supporting a platform that provides little to no customer service. If the people at Facebook are counting on brand loyalty, they have a long way to go.