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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Facebook shares all

A $10,000 scholarship with a single click of the mouse may seem alluring to students, but it might have a dark side.

Social networking sites like Facebook are thriving and updating their services to appeal to their users, but the marketing effects of spreading users’ information remain unclear.

“”I think the potential of your information being leaked is more harmful if someone doesn’t know what they’re doing,”” said Alex Lopez, a chemistry sophomore. “”There’s ways I’ve been able to block the pop-up ads.””

There is a possibility the information a user shares on the Internet could be used for profit, and it is alarming to some users.

“”Advertisements themselves are fine — it’s whether or not people respond to them,”” said Susan Brown, Management Information Systems associate professor. “”I imagine that the likes and interests are used to target ads, but they profit from that only if you follow the links from the ads they offer.””

Most students feel that these companies could take advantage of the naïve users, especially when they see ads based on their activities, interests, relationship status, sex, college, favorite books, movies and more.

“”Every little change you make to your Facebook profile gets noticed,”” said Taylor Wyman, a Facebook user and veterinary science sophomore.

Since the addition of the “”Like”” button, Facebook users have the ability to display their interests in any person, place or thing. But the little blue thumbs up also gives support to marketing strategists. Companies that advertise on thriving websites like Facebook have generated new ways to target their market audience based on people’s likes and dislikes.

“”I changed my relationship status over winter break and immediately began seeing ‘wedding crash diets’ and honeymoon advertisements. It was really weird to me, that’s such a targeted audience,”” Wyman said.

When a Facebook user “”Likes”” something, it not only shares this information with their friends but also filters them into advertisement categories. On the other hand, Facebook ensures the ad placer they will be able to “”track progress with real-time reporting, gain insight about who’s clicking on your ad and make modifications to maximize your results,”” according to data on their website.

“”Now, I have my computer set up to block all the ads, so I actually don’t see them,”” Wyman said.

Some, like freshman Joe Allegranza, were unaware that Facebook has “”such capabilities.””

“”Even though it’s a little invading, I like it because the ads suggest things that I like, and I won’t have to go search the Internet for it. It makes things easier to find,”” Allegranza said.

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