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Is Facebook Catering Too Much to Advertisers? The Geek Girl Report

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

I’ve been noticing a trend on Facebook recently. Every so often, I’ll get an update on my home page that says something like, “Sally Smith read this story on Yahoo,” followed by a somewhat interesting headline. But when I go to read it, I’m told that I have to install yet another application on my Facebook page just so I can read this story about a man trading his engagement ring for a video game.

It’s all a part of Facebook’s new Open Graph applications, which was announced at this year’s f8 Developers conference. Basically, it’s a new kind of application that, once you’ve installed it, lets all your Facebook buddies know everything you’ve been reading, listening to, watching, etc. Then, once your friends have installed the app, they can read/listen to/watch the same thing. It’s supposed to create “seamless sharing” throughout a network of your friends, but all it’s creating is a big headache.

But never mind that Facebook is once again making things more difficult for its users. It’s more concerning to me that Facebook is so intent on wanting to know everything you do.

I think it may have a lot (not all) to do with the companies who advertise on Facebook. See, with all the ads flying around nowadays, it’s hard for a company to stand out in the general public. So instead, they’re going for a more specific demographic, trying to find the people most likely to buy their product and bombard them with ads. And when you have something like Facebook, which lists the likes and interests of millions of users, you’ve got an adverting gold mine. Now you have these new apps which shows off everything you’ve been checking out to all your friends, the digital equivalent of “word-of-mouth” advertising.

This is not what I signed up for when I joined Facebook. I thought it was supposed to be a way to keep in touch with all your friends. When did Facebook turn into a directory for advertisers?

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