Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve probably noticed the explosion of data in your Facebook timeline and ticker. Especially when it comes to the data presented by third party apps such as Spotify. On the one hand, it’s been a fantastic tool for music discovery and re-discovery (in the last 30 days I’ve been reminded of tons of new tracks from my past I’d forgotten about because friends’ playlists have appeared in my timeline).
But I’ve also noticed something else interesting that’s been happening. Last week I was listening to an album by Steven Kellogg and the Sixers on Spotify. Because I’ve integrated the app with Facebook, the tracks I’m listening to are shared in my timeline. I then noticed a Facebook ad asking me to download their new album. Beyond that, I’ve been seeing ads for the Sixers’ new album follow me across the web as I read the NY Times, TechCrunch and the like.
This kind of cookie-related advertising isn’t that new. Visit any automaker’s site and inevitably you’ll see ads follow you around for that new Prius as you navigate the web. What’s interesting to me is the brave new world of data collection and recommendation engines that follow you round the web while your’e logged into Facebook. I also think some of these super-targeted ads will crossover not just from Facebook usage to the web but also originate from my behavior in using third party apps. This may be city of gold that many developers are looking for who are building apps that integrate seamlessly with Facebook because they may be able to monetize this behavioral data as well as Mr. Zucks. But I wonder if we need some more transparency regarding what types of behavioral data apps like Spotify collect and what they’re using it for. And at what point can you ‘opt out’ for data collection? Should you be able to? After all – the sites and services we’re using provide us with some amazing opportunities to connect and consume media. For Free. So if you don’t know what their ‘product’ is – then you’re the product (thanks to Joe Romanelli for sharing the cartoon).
So I’m curious – do any of you take issue with the sheer amounts of data that is being collected or are you happy that it ends up in serving your more relevant content and ads as the price you pay for free service? Or are you fine with your data being the ‘price of admission’ to use many free services? Does anyone know what the policies of 3rd party Facebook integrated apps are, and how they use your behavioral data? Fire away in the comments.