How Facebook is Using Big Data – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Starweaver
How Facebook is Using Big Data - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

How Facebook is Using Big Data - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Many people throughout the world are using Facebook for many different things. Some use it to share information and keep in touch with their community and their friends and family. Some use it to grow their business or even to shop. As their customer base grew though, Facebook started to use Big Data to help them make more money.

According to a report from McKinsey & Co, by 2009, companies with more than 1000 employees already had more than 200 terabytes of data based on their customer’s lives stored. And this number continues to grow as time goes on as well. There is so much data that Facebook and other social media sites are able to gather and many users have no idea what is going on.

How Does Facebook Gather the Data?

Outside of the Google corporation, Facebook is one of the biggest collectors of data because they have access to a ton of information. The more users who work with Facebook, the more information they can amassed. They know the value of this and have invested a lot of money in collecting, storing, and analyzing their data.

This isn’t where Facebook is going to stop either. Apart from taking the time to analyzing the data of the user, Facebook has some other ways to determine the behavior and habits of their users. Some of the ways that they do this include:

  1. Tracking cookies:

    Facebook is able to trace what the users are doing, not just on their site, but across the web. If a user is logged onto Facebook and maintains that login when they go to other websites, Facebook has the ability to track all of this as well and use that data as necessary.

  2. Facial recognition:

    One of the latest investments for Facebook is their image processing and facial recognition capabilities. Facebook is able to track its users all around the internet, along with other profiles on Facebook thanks to some of the image data that the users share with one another.

  3. Tag suggestions:

    Facebook always suggests adding tags to pictures. They can even make suggestions on who to tag thanks to their facial recognition and image processing. This helps them to collect even more data as well.

  4. Analyzing likes:

    There is a recent study that was conducted which showed that it is viable to product data accurately on a range of personal attributes. These can even be sensitive by analyzing the likes on a Facebook page. For example, researching the patterns of likes on Facebook are able to predict a lot of information about the users including their sexual orientation, religion, drug and alcohol use, relationship status, age, race, gender, and even political views.

Facebook is able to analyze and package this data to sell to marketers and advertisers and make a lot of money. Knowing what they are collecting and being aware of how your activities are tracked can help keep you safe. It is likely that Facebook will continue to invest more money into this as well because it makes them a ton of money along the way.

Why Does Facebook Gather This Data?

There are a number of reasons why Facebook decides to gather this data from their users. While they do use this to provide a better user experience most of the time to their customers, it is important to realize that Facebook does collect this data and then sells it to their advertisers and other marketers. This means that Facebook, when collecting your data, is using it to make money.

Facebook does provide some good features online and the use of data helps them to do this. This can be great news. And advertisers do love having some additional features and information to help them reach their customers and use products that are being sold by them. However, consumers have to realize that their data is being used to make Facebook money.

All users of Facebook and other social media need to consider what information they want to share and weigh the risks and the benefits. While there are a lot of benefits to sharing that data and it can make for a better user experience, you will find that sometimes your privacy is more important. Each user has to decide which is more important and to what extent.

The Issues

There are some issues to Facebook using this data. First, many worry about the privacy issues of it. Advertisers are pretty much paying premium prices in order to get as much data on their customers as possible. Often this is data the customers would rather not hand away.

Facebook promises that they only share information that users have given permission to share. But they are still getting a lot of money for gathering this data. And there are a lot of issues that seem to crop up. Facebook users should be careful about the information they put online.

This is an even bigger problem because Facebook will rely on other platforms to help them gather the data. For example, they will use Hadoop that has had some issues with privacy and leaking the data. It helps Facebook to gather and analyze the data before selling it, but it may not be the safest thing for consumers.

Another issue is that companies can sometimes use big data in the wrong way, using it to answer some meaningless questions. Facebook and other companies do not care about the worth of the questions they ask. They have the resources and all the data, often without the users having no idea, to ask any questions they want.

All Facebook users should be careful about the data they decide to share online. Facebook is able to make a good deal of money off this. Sometimes this is useful to you because it helps ensure that you get better options online, can help with shopping, and gives a great user experience. But it can cause issues because it may provide companies with private information that you do not want shared.

Always be cautious and careful about the type and amount of data that you plan to share online to keep yourself safe, even if it does limit how much you are able to do online.


Learn from Leading Experts | Learn by Doing

Individual Sign-up
Register a Team
(with discounts)

Save even more for teams!
Find out more...


Current Streaming Courses

"The secret to getting ahead is getting started..." ~ Mark Twain