06 Oct Is marketing to Facebook Messenger an invasion of privacy?
Is marketing to Facebook Messenger an invasion of privacy?
Since it’s inception, Facebook has been ruffling feathers with privacy terms that seem designed, at first glance, to ensure you don’t have any digital privacy at all. With the implementation of their separate Facebook Messenger app, it may seem like you’re signing away even more of your digital privacy just for the privilege of easy contact with loved ones. The ability to deliver your advertising message directly to your customer’s inbox, however, is tempting. Are concerns about messenger’s privacy settings a real issue, though, or just more media-hyped red herrings? Zebra 360 Online takes a look at this controversial advertising platform.
In a nutshell, most of the scare stories you will read about them being able to access your device remotely because of the permissions you clicked are rubbish. In all honestly, Facebook Messenger doesn’t really demand anything new at all from those who agree to use it, and very little extra to the Facebook app itself. Most of the permissions it requests are simply needed for it to deliver the service you’re requesting, nothing more. It’s also far from the only app to need these so-called ‘invasive’ permissions…most of which, again, come back to being a feature that’s needed to do what you want it to do. If you want to be able to upload pictures, access to your camera and gallery are needed, not for nefarious purposes, but to do exactly what you want it to do.
Of course, there is the much stickier issue of data privacy. Facebook isn’t alone in using the data we happily feed it daily to help third-parties better target their advertising message. It’s how most of these apps make money for themselves, and how they stay in business, offering the services we love. Yes, in a few ways that is infringing some of our privacy- but let’s face it, that same privacy began to show holes the second we stepped foot on the internet.
There will always be a trade off. Data security is certainly an issue, and the reason such sites are required to make extensive disclosure of how they use your data. On the flip side, as advertisers are able to get that data, we’re [at least in theory] receiving advertising that’s more relevant and interesting to us then the days where we were simply bombarded with adverts in the hope that some stuck. It’s certainly a sticky issue, and in some ways a grey area for the advertisers themselves. Responsible use of that data is critical, of course… but the fact that that data exists and is accessible is the trade-off we take for convenient free apps that keep us connected. In the end, these are businesses, and they need to make a return on investment somehow if they’re going to continue to grow. How much is too much is a question that demands the reasonable expansion of digital privacy laws and proper legal analysis, however, not the hysterical attempts of media outlets to sell outrage.
As media consumers, the key lies in making sure you take proper ownership of your data, and control what can be accessed, within your own comfort zone, through the platform’s settings. As advertisers, it comes down to walking a fine line between attracting your customers with better data and demographics, and being certain not to leave them feeling infringed upon through over-aggressive, pushy tactics that amount to spam under a different name. Don’t be so seduced by the potential of these platforms that you lose sight of your end goal- happy customers.
It’s a delicate and difficult arena to navigate, particularly as these apps themselves grow and expand, and one that will certainly demand extra attention from the public and advertisers alike to find a solid and comfortable middle ground to work from in the future.