Opinion: Facebook may soon become the company you don’t recognise

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

A more consumer-friendly company might be able to take its time. But now that they are hardcore capitalists, Facebook is coming into your life with no Vaseline.

As a result of Mark Zuckerberg caving in to the pressures of capitalism, there is going to be an urge by Facebook to follow you around the web and use social media to advertise to you like crazy.  Both Google and Facebook are notorious for learning your shopping and searching patterns and finding things out about you that even you may not know.  But the company is expected to step it up a notch and really start digging into your personal and professional life on a scale that is virtually unprecedented.

In a column for,  talks about the issue:

There’s one thing your life has been missing: reading your favorite news site, gossip site or filthy cartoon site and learning that your friend Willy has just bought himself two pounds of Camembert and some Campbell’s pea soup.

Thankfully, Facebook is hurtling to your rescue.

It was a delicate development this week that Facebook’s ads and sponsored stories will begin to appear on Zynga.
Zynga is a natural progression from Facebook. It’s almost a part of Facebook. Nothing to be concerned about here.

And yet it just so happens that Facebook likes to really get to know you.

The author then goes into how Facebook is going to track your every move on the Internet, all so it can sell products to you:

It tries to improve its collective, sharing good by following you everywhere it can on the Web like a sniffy puppy and taking that information back to its kennel.

The types of ads that are predicted to appear from Facebook can be compared to ads that tell you that your friend shopped at the same mall you’re about to enter. Another example might be having something advertised to you that your friends were talking to you about this week.  It’s all about the Benjamins, and after Facebook’s recent slide in the stock market, pressure is mounting on the company to find ways to expand its revenue streams.

Matyszczyk explains more:

Still, Facebook’s management are people who have your interests at heart. Why, only the other week I received a friendly e-mail from the company telling me that I must rush to the site because so many of my friends had been poking me. I even had 5 alleged friend requests.

This turned out to be, well, entirely untrue. In fact, every link in the e-mail sent me to a page where I could, gosh, meet new friends.

When I contacted Facebook about this blatant bait-and-switch, the company confirmed that it had sent me the e-mail. It didn’t answer any other questions, such as “Why are you sending me e-mails with patently false information?”

There is, though, something of an inevitability about Facebook ads appearing everywhere. The company has so much of your information that it needs to monetize it as swiftly as it can.

The endgame for Facebook seems to be one where they know that they’re sitting on a mountain of valuable information about you, and they know they’ve got you hooked. That’s when it’s time for the monetization process to occur, and they are taking no prisoners. A more consumer-friendly company might be able to take its time. But now that they are hardcore capitalists, Facebook is coming into your life with no Vaseline.


Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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