How many times have you been on Facebook only to see an inflammatory post that you just felt compelled to comment on? The post might not have been totally off in its reporting but the nuance of it just seemed to miss the mark. So, against your better judgment you, with the best of intentions try to correct the misinformation and then… all Facebook Hell breaks loose.
You end up in some fight that goes on for hours or days or longer. Sarcasm is exchanged, shots are fired, meme volleys are launched – a band of Internet trolls join in. Finally someone ends up blocked. Your friends think you are a jerk – and often the feeling is mutual.
Even if this hasn’t happened to you – you have almost certainly seen it happen to others. Aside from all of the things people love about Facebook – like broadened communication, mass amounts of birthday wishes and endless narcissism… hmmpt… I mean selfies – Facebook can often feel like the digital version of Fight Club.
But if this kind of digital MMA battle has happened to you – truth be told – it might not be completely your fault. And surprisingly enough it also might not be the fault of the now deemed ass-hat friend that you were just fighting. Why? Because Facebook’s system is setup to encourage you to fight with your friends.
To understand how this is the case – you need to have a basic understanding of how Facebook makes money. Facebook makes revenue by selling ads to companies that want to sell you their stuff. So when you log into Facebook their goal is to get as many relevant ads in front of you as possible so that they can cash in.
All this happens very quickly in real time. You get on Facebook and they read all of the info they can from your browser. By this and the data that you already voluntarily gave them permission to when you signed up – they have a pretty detailed profile of whom you are and what kinds of things you like. They then use all of this data to feed you ads that make them money.
It is obviously more complicated than I am about to describe but, in short, Facebook feeds you ads by rapidly sending your data to servers that then compete on behalf of product suppliers to bid on pitching you their ad. These bids are fractions of a cent but they all add up. The person who won the bid – well, that’s whose ad you are seeing in your browser.
Have you ever had the experience of looking up a product online and then suddenly, and creepily, Facebook puts an ad up in front of you while you are on Facebook? That happened because they are using the data from your browser. And now they have targeted you for a potential product sale.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Christopher Benek