Facebook has often been criticized for doing a poor job when it comes to guarding user privacy. In the past, the social network has been accused of sharing user data with advertising groups. And now, it has been found out that it tracks not only a user’s online activity but his offline activities as well.
Facebook is accomplishing this by collaborating with a data company called ‘Datalogix.’ The partnership between the two is essentially meant to assess the success of Facebook ads.
One of the main problem of online advertising is – marketers have to work ard enough to get the attention of users and drive them to product or service oriented sites, yet every click on advertisements don’t convert into a physical sale. Facebook wishes to know the statistics. It wants to track which users really purchased a product or service after being driven to advertising sites, since that would give it a measure of the ads’ success.
That’s where Datalogix comes in. Datalogix has access to data of about 70 million American households. This data is gathered from loyalty programs, retailers, drug stores and similar other franchises. The company gathers the purchasing data of millions of Americans and then compares their information with their Facebook data.
By comparing these two heaps of data, Datalogix can precisely predict which users purchased a product after watching its ad on Facebook. While Facebook is citing this merely as a tool to gauge the success of online marketers, digital privacy advocates have raised concerns about it.
Although the thought of being tracked by Facebook, in our offline lives, is in itself haunting, the fact that this is being done without the express approval of the users is more unsettling.