Facebook has been the target of much discussion surrounding privacy and data mining, so how did they confront this discussion, by letting you download all of your data. That’s right! You can view and download the data that Facebook has about you in a big report they created. In fact, recently they have upgraded this report to include some new information you may find interesting.
In an effort to offer even more transparency to users in terms of why they’re seeing the ads that are showing up in their feeds, they released an updated version of their existing data download tool that allows users to download three new sections of information on their own activity.
If you’ve never peaked below the hood, now’s your chance! Here’s how you do it.
So what exactly does this new report show?
- Of course, this report includes the stuff you would expect to find... such as interactions on both Facebook and Instagram from the user, including their own profile updates, Page content, post likes, comments, and more.
- The potentially more interesting piece is that it now includes Interpretation on how Facebook is pairing up the user’s specific behaviors with content it deems relevant. This new data report offers a big of an inside look as to why you’ve been getting so many fedora ads and nightlights.
- A list of categories assigned to Instagram accounts you interact with, showing users specifically what types of content Instagram thinks they’re interested in when determining what to show in the Explore section of their app.
The big thing to consider here is that brands aren’t necessarily benefiting from this nearly as much as users are. While you may think it’s the end of the world that Facebook knows you like fancy fedoras and nice mugs, at the end of the day, all they do with this information is show you fancy fedoras and more nice mugs. Is that so bad? The internet is full of things to buy and it would take an eternity for you to weed through all of the garbage, so is it wrong for companies to spend money based on your predetermined interests to target you with their product? I don’t think so.
Of course, I understand privacy is a concern. Having so much data about you makes it feel like you are losing your individuality, but if brands are building trust with users so they can understand what they’re seeing, especially when so many users are distrustful of ad targeting capabilities amidst privacy concerns, it could help advertisers more effectively target users in the long run. Better ads for everyone, more relevant search results, and so on…
Of course this could have the unintended effect of surrounding you in a bubble of your own making, this is not a death sentence. Just browse some new things and that will change too. Advertisers can also check out their own data and see if they get any new ideas for how to target users based on their own interactions. Everyone is learning, both advertisers and consumers at the same time, so as long as you are aware of what is out there and what you are doing, you have nothing to fear!
Now go get yourself a new fancy fedora and a nice mug!