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Discrimination deemed legal, product pricing based on data collected about an individual is slowly coming to the public’s attention, although the practice came into being long before the Internet did. It appears that corporations are regularly using what they know about their customers – their income and personal purchasing habits – to make adjustments to the price points for items that appear on computer screens (Fertik, 2013; Shpanya, 2013; Valentino-DeVries, Singer-Vine, & Soltani, 2012). In effect, what you are charged for an item may not be what your friend sitting next to you is being asked to pay while shopping at the same online store for the same product. According to an unidentified programmer most of these alterations are based on your location, browsing history and your preferred operating system (Shpanya, 2013). Computer cookies pick up this information and transmit them to the store fronts (Potter, 2013). So what’s new? Do you use Facebook? If so, your preferences are about to be sold globally to enhance your mobile advertising experience using the Facebook Audience Network (FAN) (Beer, 2014).

“…FAN gives advertisers the chance to target Facebook users across apps based on all the information they’ve shared with the social network.

With more than a million advertisers using its platform, mobile advertising has become a huge part of Facebook’s business, accounting for almost 60% of its ad revenue, up from 30% a year ago. In its most recent earnings call, the company reported first quarter profits of $642 million, with mobile advertising being credited with helping it boost quarterly revenues by 72%, to $2.5 billion” (Beer, 2014).

More than ever, savvy consumers need to think before sharing information through free social networking providers as well as understand how their mobile communication devices operate and how their information will be sold to others. Using Facebook’s “accurate targeting” and the psychological profiles it has built around what you like, share and engage in (as well as other metrics), Facebook is about to make you an even more amenable consumer (Matthews, 2014; University of Cambridge, 2014; myPersonality Project, 2014; Facebook, 2014). According to Leo Burnett Worldwide’s Head of Social and Mobile James Kirkham “…Facebook was first and foremost a social network packed full of personal data. It literally knows more about you than anything else. The Facebook Ad Network is primed to deliver advertising to people with an uncanny amount of intel, with laser sights trained on every single person” (Beer, 2014).

Are you a fan? What are your thoughts?

References

Beer, J. (2014, April 30). Facebook Introduces New Mobile Ad Network, Takes Its Business Outside The Social Network. Retrieved from Co.Ceate: http://www.fastcocreate.com/3029924/facebook-introduces-new-mobile-ad-network-takes-its-business-outside-the-social-network

Facebook. (2014). Audience Network. Retrieved from Facebook: https://developers.facebook.com/products/audience-network

Fertik, M. (2013, Jan 15). The Rich See a Different Internet Than the Poor. Retrieved from Scientific American: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/rich-see-different-internet-than-the-poor/

Matthews, D. (2014, April 29). 7 things you told Facebook without even realizing it. Retrieved from Vox: http://www.vox.com/2014/4/29/5662112/7-things-you-told-facebook-without-even-realizing-it

myPersonality Project. (2014, March 25). Welcome to the myPersonality Project Website. Retrieved from myPersonality Project: http://mypersonality.org/wiki/doku.php?id=start

Potter, W. J. (2013). Media Literacy. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Shpanya, A. (2013, May 14). Online price discrimination: a surprising reality in ecommerce. Retrieved from Econsultancy: https://econsultancy.com/blog/62699-online-price-discrimination-a-surprising-reality-in-ecommerce#i.ha7kfozuaf1lr0

University of Cambridge. (2014). myPersonality database . Retrieved from University of Cambridge: http://www.psychometrics.cam.ac.uk/productsservices/mypersonality

Valentino-DeVries, J., Singer-Vine, J., & Soltani, A. (2012, Dec 24). Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based on Users’ Information. Retrieved from Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323777204578189391813881534?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424127887323777204578189391813881534.html

 

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