Dear Facebook

I read an article about Facebook’s “like” button in The Wall Street Journal.  The article claims researchers can create a profile of a Facebook user based on what they “like.”

For Harley-Davidson bikers and “likers,” the study’s profile wasn’t very flattering.

I’m selective in my use of the “like” button.  I rarely “like” name-brand products unless I use them, I can attest to their quality, and I am willing to promote the product for free.  For instance, I “like” Coast of Maine Organic Products.  Facebook categorizes them as a “local business.”

I don’t generally “like” public figures; I’ve “liked” one.

What’s funny is how Facebook thinks it knows me based on the things I “like.”  Just today, Facebook suggested I might like playing “Farmville” and “Candy Crush Saga.”  It could be because I “liked” a picture of a friend’s cow and I posted a picture of a banana split.  I’m surprised Facebook didn’t suggest “Words with Friends” based on my “liking” of witty wordsmiths F. Scott Fitzgerald, P.G. Wodehouse, and Dorothy Sayers.

Why does Facebook create profiles?  Is it some plan for world domination or mind control?  Or is it because they want to sell people stuff?  What are they selling?  The things they have suggested to me, based on my “likes” aren’t things I’ve been interested in buying.  Maybe I’m overthinking this, as is my tendency, but my “liking” of Facebook lately has waned.  Some days, I dislike Facebook, but there is no button for that.

And no, just because I’m tall doesn’t mean I’m shopping for a pair of edgy, unique flat shoes.

Facebook, you don’t own me.

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6 Responses to Dear Facebook

  1. Loosehead Prop says:

    The researchers found, for example, that “Likes” for Austin, Texas; “Big Momma” movies; and the statement “Relationships Should Be Between Two People Not the Whole Universe” were among a set of 10 choices that, combined, predicted drug use. Meanwhile, “Likes” for swimming, chocolate-chip cookie-dough ice cream and “Sliding On Floors with Your Socks On” were part of a pattern predicting that a person didn’t use drugs.

    Predicted what sort of drug use? At what rate? With what accuracy? I suspect the test cooked up by the researchers tells you more about the inaccuracy of personality tests than the credibility of profiles built on “likes.”

    Facebook collects more than your Likes, however, much more, and combines it with data purchased elsewhere, and sells it to whom? Who uses it for what? Of course Facebook is free to you: you’re the product being sold.

    • LP,
      It’s a treat to have you stop by the blog. Always. Your comment of “Facebook is free to you: you’re the product being sold” was my unspoken summary statement. No Facebook for me today; it’s vacation laundry day here at The Coop. Thanks for visiting.

  2. Loosehead Prop says:

    And there’s nothing wrong with a tall women in heels, Tom Cruise’s soapbox not excepted.

  3. jbomb62 says:

    I think people should like the Jim Baumer Experience. We like swimming, local food, and we don’t promote drug usage, but we do think that Austin, TX was a pretty cool place when we last visited, and it is the home of Austin City Limits.

    I hate it when some algorithm thinks it knows me and can sell to me; it can’t because the JBE is algorithm-proof, so go put that in your pipe Facebook, and smoke it!

  4. Mary Conant says:

    Yes, FB seems to be in a world of its own these days. As you query, to whom are they selling and what? I enjoy FB because of the photos people post and for being able to keep in touch with long ago friends who no longer live close by. I am glad that you “liked” my son’s scholarship page as well as Dorothy Sayers. My maiden name is Sayrs. I also take care in what I “like” on FB and we can be choosy and individual. Hugs, Mary

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