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Not-Appy: Facebookers Privacy Gets ANOTHER Hammering?

By Oonagh Reidy | Monday | 09/07/2012

Do-not-track-me: Facebook may be about to give users another privacy shock, as it tracks apps you purchase.

Click to enlarge
Do-not-track-me: Facebook may be about to give users another privacy shock, as it tracks apps you purchase.

The Social Network's latest advertising strategy involved tracking the app usage of its 901 million users on its Facebook Connect platform and targeting ads based on their purchases, reports WSJ, citing sources.

If so, this means users that jump on apps via Facebook-whether its an eBay or Angry birds-will give advertisers a much clearer picture of who they are and their app 'likes' (so to speak), meaning user privacy will also take a hit.

Facebook Connect allows users to "connect" their social network identity, friends and privacy to approved third party websites "to offer even more features of Facebook Platform", according to its user page.

But Facebook may also track what people do on the apps, according to the Journal, including in-app purchases and other activity, meaning millions in the network may be subject to a string of strongly targeted ads.

Other mobile players like Google and Apple do track user app purchases as a way of targeting ads but don't track in-app activity, just yet.

And its not like the ads will be hidden either, as they will appear on user News Feeds, says the report.

This could leave millions of Facebookers far from happy, particularly when the network already recieved a backlash from users after introducing @facebook email accounts last month - without telling anyone.

The not yet announced ad campaign is due to be unveiled next month.

This could be the first in a new wave of even more mobile based ads with the mobile ad industry worth US$5.3bn globally last year, predicted to account for 3.4% of the total advertising spend, according to Berg Insight

Of late, there seems to have been a noticeable proliferation in the amount of in-app ads with everything from ads for Qantas' app to other Android apps on that platform.

The Facebook ad deal is said to be highly lucrative for the network, already under pressure to increase its mobile revenues since such a massive proportion of its users access the network via mobile or tablet.

Facebook Connect's about page indicates "the user will have total control of the permissions granted" - meaning the network may be obliged to make the new ad plans public to users and it is not yet clear if there will be an opt-out option. 

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