Ithaca Blog

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Is Your Facebook Information Being Marketed?

You know those fun little quizzes you take on Facebook about your real biological age, or who you were in another life?

With permission you give in order to take these quizzes, the information you provide becomes legal for sale to marketers, drug companies and, presumably, anyone willing to pay for it.

You might consider it personal that you take antidepressants, have two drinks a day, are sexually active, or consider your marriage unhappy. But you lose your right to privacy about such information when you provide it to these online quizzes, and companies such as Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, and others are buying it.

Has your own personal information been compiled for marketing? Thirty-seven guesses, as an old teacher of mine used to say about simple questions.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog


Bill Chaisson said...

It amazes me that anyone would put anything other than trivial information anywhere on Facebook. There is a difference between your actual friends and your Facebook "friends." That is, I would not confide in my virtual "friends" (quotes deliberate and important) anything serious about my personal life.

A social networking site should be something like a quasi-public cocktail party. If one consequence of a Facebook poster is that Pfizer now knows that they take antidepressants, then I would say that the problem is the poster's "oversharing," not Pfizer's attempt to do market research.

Stephen Burke said...

Your last sentence: that's what I mean, Bill, you dum-dum!