Facebook Preferences to Advertisers

June 13, 2012

Wired gives us the inside scoop on “How Facebook Knows What You Really Like.” It all hinges on Open Graph, a system that expands Facebook‘s famous connections mapping technology to its commercial partners. The initiative is an addition to the Facebook Platform, the toolset that lets outside companies develop applications that link into the social network. Targeted marketing at its tightest. The article explains:

“In the case of Open Graph, the task is to weed through the mountains of data streaming from outside operations and serve up only the stuff that’s most relevant. The system works in two stages. First, it seeks to determine how interesting a certain type data would be to Facebook’s audience as a whole. Then, using this global rating as a starting point, it tries to determine how important the data is to you in particular.”

So, because I have shown an interest in technology, music, and travel, those are the kinds of adds I see in my feed. The software that keeps track of what we like, called Scribe, is designed to log large amount of data in realtime; another program analyzes that data to determine big-picture trends. About a billion clicks are processed per hour.

Wired’s Cade Metz theorizes that the Open Graph model, though designed around Facebook, could become a standard for other Web services. Perhaps, some day. For the moment, though, companies who have plugged in to the system report huge leaps in Facebook-supplied traffic. It’s good to know their investment is paying off.

What about the users? I, for one, am happy to see adds for (mostly) things I’m actually interested in alongside my newsfeed. Yes, data harvesting bothers many, but those folks shouldn’t be on Facebook anyway. We all go into it knowing the company is just using us to feed its advertisers. Right?

Cynthia Murrell,June 13, 2012

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