Online, Social Media

Facebook knows your face; Advertisers know your habits; Americans don’t care

As most of you may know (well, if you have a Facebook account), whenever you upload photos from last weekend’s fun, Facebook offers you suggestions on who they think you were hanging out with based on their facial recognition software.  And since my blog post about behavioral targeting some weeks ago (you can revisit here), the three companies that are tracking the opt-out metrics have found that barely anyone is opting-out of being tracked! (Full article here.)

This is not the case in Europe.  For Facebook, as soon as they enabled the facial recognition,  a group of privacy watchdogs came into action saying that the software shouldn’t be allowed to guess who your friends are in the picture based on what they look like.  (Full article here.)

And Europeans are even more sticklers on behavioral targeting.  The ruling stands that advertisers must ask each consumer permission for them to drop a cookie on their machine.  Wow.  If less than 0.002% of people in the US click on the tracking icon and at the most 10% of those people out-out, I can imagine how easy it will be for Europeans to just say no.  And so one thing to now remember when buying in the UK and Germany (where I most often buy online) – no behavioral targeting, it won’t be worth the headache.  The only way to gain relevance with consumers will be contextual and content advertising.

And as far as Facebook, it’ll just take Europeans about 5 minutes longer to manually tag their friends, I guess.

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