Facebook Stirs Uproar with Privacy Advocates

facebook-graph-searchYeah, it’s true you don’t get the chance to take on a force like Google every day, that is, unless you’re Facebook. This challenger so to speak, has launched its new addition to the platform and has dubbed it “Graph Search.”

There is speculation however, that this was long predicted ever since Facebook’s growing presence started to rattle Google’s confidence on the web, especially in the online advertising market. In an interview between Wired and Larry Page, the CEO of Google said that “Facebook was doing a really bad with their products.” Seems a little disagreeable to me. But, if Google didn’t feel threatened by Facebook, why would they want to venture into the social media industry and not remain the search engine king?

We’ve seen a search engine go social with Google+ and now we get the chance to experience a change of suit with Facebook introducing its own search capabilities. However, this search engine is a little bit different as in users get the chance to search for answers from their friends and friends of friends. We know it may not be the place to go when doing research or simply solving a bet at the pub; but we can start discovering interests in people we didn’t even know before, right? But, the real question is whether or not Facebook will keep Graph Search as a private, social search that only includes personal networks, which makes for entertainment but limits the potential value. Or, Facebook permits personal data accessible to Graph Search in order to make it more valuable, thus hurting privacy advocates and tarnishing its core value: connecting with friends in a trusted environment.
spying
For business, Graph Search shows potential as a new form of marketing by introducing a better way to understand their target audience. A business could use Graph Search to gain insight into attitudes, opinions and interests of their audience. This could be filtered down to their favourite activities for Sunday afternoons, favourite locations, favourite artists, and favourite celebrities. Gaining this sort of knowledge helps companies leverage their efforts and ensures an impacting message. Hypothetically, a company could use it to find out a selective segment’s preferred artist and favoured hangout. That company could then incorporate these two customized elements into a highly profiled advertisement for that segment, guaranteeing a genuine interest.

Ultimately, Facebook’s dilemma has sparked the interest of its users because it infers that Facebook may possibly capitalize on what we’ve confidently shared with our friends. We’ve seen Instagram’s privacy debacle washed away with an increase in users and activity, why would this be different? After acquiring Instagram, will Facebook keep the momentum of its new counterpart and continue to push privacy concerns? Even if Facebook has over 1 billion users, making it the 3rd largest country in the world; do you think a stint like this would actually cause a loss in activity, or simply a shrugging of the shoulders?

Author: Anthony Baisi

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