By Maria Valdez Haubrich
I was just reading Time magazine’s Person of the Year 2010, who is Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and creator of Facebook. Besides the background story and learning about Zuckerberg, one of the more interesting items of this story is how advertisers love Facebook because they can target their ads down to the smallest detail about a person based on the person’s search history. If you’re a Facebook user you know what I’m talking about. For me, age 46, ads for things like wrinkle cream and dieting schemes line the right hand column of my page. There is very little privacy on Facebook, but no one is holding a gun to my head to use the service, so I accept the privacy invasion to a degree.
However, a new poll by the Gallup Organization and USA Today, shows I’m in the minority. According to the poll, Americans are significantly opposed to having their online history tracked by advertisers for the purpose of delivering targeted ads. The poll found a majority of consumers (67 percent) would prevent advertisers from matching ads based on their website history. In fact, most respondents wouldn’t want the targeted ads even if it meant they get free content free in return.
Not surprising, respondents under age 34 and those who make over 75,000 a year in salary were more likely to say they have no problem with advertisers targeting ads to them (57 percent and 49 percent, respectively, were OK with targeted ads).
It’s an interesting point to think about what the future looks like when it comes to these privacy issues. Although Microsoft and Mozilla Corp. plan to add Do-Not-Track features to their upcoming versions of Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers, the Facebook people compare it to when Caller ID first came out and the outrage that caused: “I don’t want people to know I called.”
What’s your opinion? We’d love to hear it!