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Facebook’s Ads To Stalk You Through Cyberspace

Being Followed Online Gets Less Fun

Mark Zuckerberg has given a whole new meaning to the term ‘Facebook stalking'; it's now much more than just a guilty pleasure for those lonely Friday nights. As of Monday September 29th, Facebook is going to follow you around the internet to try and sell you content online. Its new marketing tool, Atlas, will look through your Facebook data to bring you customised adverts on mobile appselsewhere online and, of course, on Facebook itself.

It’s an incredibly risky update, as while it's sure to put a few hundred million more advertising dollars in Facebook’s back pocket, it could very realistically alienate thousands of the service’s users. Some may see it as an invasion of privacy beyond even Facebook’s previous, well-publicised discrepancies. Changing what we see on the site itself has been enough to frighten users in the past, so using our information to affect what we see elsewhere on the web is very, very dangerous.

The new method of advertising will be in direct competition with Google, who currently hold one-third of the entire digital advertising market. It is hoped that the upgrade in the site’s advertising potential will encourage corporations to choose Facebook when trying to sell their products.
Atlas is far from the only way that Facebook have recently targeted Google’s market-share. An interesting battle is developing between the two online giants, and it could go one of two ways for the products' end-users. Either the two companies will push each-other to improve their services or we’ll end up as collateral damage as both attempt to win by playing dirty. Atlas, unfortunately, seems to suggest we’re moving in the direction of the latter. 

The question now is how Google will counter, and whether this is all going to snowball into a totalitarian cyberspace in which we can't make a Google search without first having to buy 14 Starbucks cappuccinos and a Twix.

While Facebook deny the adverts are ‘Facebook ads’ per se, they admit that companies will be more likely to buy adspace through them now they can now utilise its data. As a bonus, advertisers can use Atlas to see how their ads are getting on. They’ll know what’s popular and what’s not, meaning that, at the very least, it should stop Sony's marketing team at source the next time they attempt something like this:


Commercial Playstation "Mental Wealth" (Chris... by Asato2U

So far, only a few corporations have actually signed up to the service. These include PepsiCo, Omnicom and Facebook’s very own Instagram. So for those of you who have given a Pepsi by-product a ‘like’ on Facebook, look forward to seeing it shoved down your throat the next time you want to kick back and read a few articles online. 

Facebook’s adverts now follow you, and they won’t relent until you end up drowning in a pool of your own 7 Up.


Emile is a postgrad from the University of Saint Mark and Saint John. He’s hoping to break into journalism or publishing, and won’t stop blogging until he’s managed it! Follow him @EmileAtSMF.

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Facebook’s Ads To Stalk You Through Cyberspace Reviewed by Emile Cole on Wednesday, October 01, 2014 Rating: 5
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