The industry built around Facebook: The value of your personal data
This past April, Facebook Inc. implemented a policy which limits the data it makes available to commercial and non-commercial third party users. The new policy helps to protect Facebook users’ privacy but has had a significant impact on the industry which has sprung up around the social media platform’s data flow.
Most of the apps that you download onto your smart phone request access to your Facebook account. The information they gather from your friends list, pictures, liked pages, groups, and events allows them to personalize your experience. Apps such as Tinder, Job Fusion, Reveal, and Nimble all relied heavily on the social data provided by Facebook.
According to the Wall Street Journal, app developers no longer have access to information, such as users’ education history, likes, friends list, photos, relationship status, and work history.
Facebook's move to cut its user data firehose off has caused many apps to go under or pivot sharply http://t.co/M2Y7sKjyGe
— CMO Today (@wsjCMO) September 25, 2015
Job Fusion, an app that used data from Facebook and LinkedIn to show its users available jobs where their friends work, is one of many apps that has been forced to shut down because of Facebook’s data restrictions.
The popular dating app Tinder entered into negotiations with Facebook to reclaim some of its lost data access.
As of 2012, Facebook’s servers were processing 500 terabytes of data per day. Users were uploading approximately 300 million photos and submitting 2.7 billion likes on a daily basis. That massive amount of data — which includes users’ marital status, job status, political tendencies, and geographic location — has no doubt increased significantly in the three years since 2012.
Restricting data outflow to paying customers seems counterintuitive at first; however, it might reflect a shift in Facebook’s position within the market. Facebook reported an annual revenue of $12.6 billion in 2014, 92 percent of which came from advertising. The social media platform’s revenue increased by $4.59 billion from 2013 to 2014, and the price of advertising on Facebook also increased by 173 percent.
Facebook has grown enough that it can exert a certain amount of control on what data it sells and to whom it is sold. If the social media platform were ever to decide to re-open access to the newly restricted data, companies would be lining up to bid for Facebook’s stored data.
Has Facebook collected too much information from its users? Should the social media company be allowed to change its policy on data restriction back? Feel free to leave a comment or find me on Twitter @Andrew_Morse4