Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Category

Happy? Sad? Excited? … Facebook can tell.

May 16, 2017

And, has been caught doing just that.


It always amazes me what people post on Facebook. Their daily activities, their deepest emotions – you name it.

By now, every Facebook user should know that FB sifts through their content – posts, pictures, links, emojis – to determine, for example, what topics are hot; what people are doing; which brands people are buying, recommending, trashing or considering; whether users are feeling happy, sad, scared, excited.

The latter is called “sentiment analysis” using computer algorithms to take users’ “emotional pulse”.

Of course, FB promises that they’ll protect users’ privacy and would never even consider divulging that information to outsiders, say, advertisers or political campaigns.


Bad news for believers: FB was caught “sharing” sentiment analysis data.


According to USA Today

Documents leaked to a newspaper, The Australian, indicate that Facebook executives prepared a report for one of the country’s top banks.

The report described how Facebook gleans psychological insights into the mood shifts of millions of young people in Australia and New Zealand by monitoring their status updates and photos.

The 23-page report showed Facebook’s ability to detect when users as young as 14 are feeling emotions such as defeat, stress, anxiety or being overwhelmed … and. other information on young people’s emotional well-being such as when they exhibit “nervous-excitement” are “conquering fears“.

FB claimed that it can track how emotions fluctuate during the week.

Anticipatory emotions are more likely to be expressed early in the week.

Reflective emotions increase on the weekend.

Monday-Thursday is about building confidence.

The weekend is for broadcasting achievements.

At a relatively benign level, advertisers can use that information to target ads to certain age groups … and they can time them to run on a certain day.

That’s apparently what FB got caught doing – revealing anonymous and aggregated data – to a potential advertising client.


Let’s go a step further…

According to the article: “Facebook has also come under heavy scrutiny in the past for secretly conducting research that manipulated the emotions of users by altering what they see in their News Feed without their consent.”

So, it doesn’t take much creativity to imagine the collection and dissemination of individuals’ sentiment data that could be used to target advertising to specific individuals at specific times – say, when they’re feeling down and are vulnerable to buying certain products geared to giving them a pick-me-up, say, some new clothes, a fancy car or miracle drug.

Pretty unnerving, right?

Of course, FB assures users that it would never consider divulging that sort of data.

Yeah, right.


Connecting dots

In a prior post, we reported on a study that concluded time on Facebook can be hazardous to your mental health.

For details see Studies: More time on Facebook … and it’s not good for you.

So, being on Facebook can make you emotionally vulnerable.

Facebook can determine when you’re vulnerable.

Facebook can sell that info to advertisers.

But, FB assures us that it won’t sell that data.

Whew … that’s a relief.



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Studies: More time on Facebook … and it’s not good for you.

May 2, 2017

“Negatively associated with overall well-being … particularly mental health”.


Let’s connect a couple of recently reported studies …

First, the BLS periodically reports how Americans spend their leisure time.

According to the NYT, channeling the most recent BLS report:

The average time that users spend on Facebook is nearing an hour.


Putting that hour of Facebook in perspective:

That’s more than any other leisure activity surveyed … with the exception of watching television programs and movies (an average per day of 2.8 hours).

It’s more time than people spend reading (19 minutes); participating in sports or exercise (17 minutes); or social events (four minutes).

It’s almost as much time as people spend eating and drinking (1.07 hours). NYT


And, a recent study published by the Harvard Business Review indicates that all that Facebook time is unhealthy.


Pssst: Facebook is stalking you in stores ….

April 16, 2013


Ostensibly to see if its sponsors’ ads are working.

But, some skeptics (e.g. me) think that there may be other motives, too.

Here’s the scoop.

Last year, Facebook entered into a partnership with a company called Datalogix.


Everybody knows what Facebook does.

Datalogix, not so much.

Datalogix is a firm that records the purchasing patterns of more than 100 million American households.

When you stop by the supermarket … you probably hand the cashier a loyalty card to get a discount on your items.

That card ties your identity to your purchases.

Your sales data is sent over to a server maintained by Datalogix, which has agreements with hundreds of major retailers to procure such data.

Source: Slate


Facebook and Datalogix … why the hook-up?


Nums: What percentage of Facebook users click on the ads?

April 15, 2013

According to an AP-CNBC poll

User clicks are a critical part of an advertiser’s calculus when gauging the effectiveness of those ads and how much they’re willing to pay for them.

So, how does Facebook do?


Here are some survey results …


Happy Birthday from Facebook and your lazy friend …

January 18, 2013

Punch line: Facebook takes a crack at monetizing the site for retailers, adding a ‘Gifts’ feature that allows users to purchase and send an actual gift to friends. 

Facebook uses that friend’s profile to suggest gifts based on their interests and ‘likes.’ 


Excerpted from’ “Facebook Unwraps Gift Products”

Remember when giving someone a gift on Facebook was like sending them a really intricate emoticon?

Yeah, people stopped doing that, and so did Facebook.

Now the social network is hoping people will start sending each other actual gifts.

Here’s how FB plans to do it …


Hey, Facebook … China still doesn’t lie you.

October 18, 2012

Punch line: As Facebook reaches a billion global users, the company is turning to new tactics to drive international growth.  Despite China’s firm ban on Facebook, Facebook still has opportunity in other Facebook-inclined countries.

* * * * *
Excerpted from’s, “How Facebook Will Find its Next Billion Users”

Facebook crossed the billion-user threshold last week but where it finds its next billion is a tough question, especially since the world’s largest internet market, China, is still closed to the social network.

Facebook’s mature markets are saturated. In the U.S., 61% of the 65-and-older population visited Facebook in August, while 87.3% of the 18-to-24 set did.  It’s hard to imagine those numbers getting much higher as growth has slowed to 2% a month.


For Facebook, Japan qualifies as an emerging market, as does South Korea.  In Russia … the company is being upfront about its aspirations. CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent last week in Moscow, where he hosted a competition for developers to build Facebook apps tailored for the Russian market.

While it might appear that Facebook has already conquered markets such as Brazil (where it surpassed once-dominant Orkut last year) and the Philippines, millions more are likely to come online there in the next several years and will be apt to share their fellow citizens’ appetite for Facebook.

Advertising may play a part in recruiting the next billion users. Working with an agency, Facebook unveiled its first brand ad last week. The ad … was made for existing users, but also contains a message for nonusers, even without a distinct call to action.  Facebook noted the purpose of the ad isn’t to promote growth.

Facebook plans to distribute the spot using its own ad products, and the 13 markets selected shed some light on where the company thinks its next billion users could be, even if it’s not being overt in its messaging. The ad will be promoted in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Mexico and India, as well as in what Facebook hopes are markets fueling future growth: Indonesia, the Philippines, Brazil, Japan and Russia.

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