Facebook announced the decision to target to non-users this week, daring to boldly go where no social network has ever gone before. In their latest bid for internet supremacy, Facebook hopes to expand their already massive ad network to users that have never even visited the site. This essentially opens the floodgates for the company already generating over $17 Billion in ad revenue in 2015 alone.
“Today, we’re expanding Audience Network so publishers and developers can show better ads to everyone — including those who don’t use or aren’t connected to Facebook,”
– Andrew Bosworth VP of Advertising @ Facebook
FB is hoping to apply the same familiar tactics seen in ‘lookalike targeting‘ but on a significantly larger scale. They believe their 1.7 Billion users can provide ample data to predict almost anyone’s behavior and interests on the web at large. While this naturally has advertisers foaming at the mouth, many users are beginning to feel uneasy with the decision. This, coupled with the recent discussion around deep text, has many feeling the familiar big brother syndrome.
However, Facebook argues that these advancements exist solely to improve the user experience. Deep text was developed to predict the needs of the user and provide helpful suggestions when needed. An example would be suggesting a restaurant (catered to your preferences) while discussing dinner plans with your husband.
Of course criticism of the social giant is hardly anything new, in fact there’s even an entire wikipedia page devoted to it. But just a few days after this announcement the conversation has been comparatively quiet. In many ways, these latest advancements highlight just how much privacy users are willing to forgo in the name of convenience. Going on Twitter right now the conversation is rather silent in stark contrast to controversy generated by much lesser announcements from the past. If this submissiveness is any indication, Facebook has 1.7 Billion willing data providers at their fingertips. The implications of which point to a bright future in their war on data with Google.