Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Friday, 13 March 2015

Facebook Does it Again – Company Sends Funeral Home Advertisements To Cancer Sufferer -

Facebook Does it Again – Company Sends Funeral Home Advertisements To Cancer Sufferer - 

I don’t know what it’s going to take to get people to stop using Facebook. I really don’t.

Last month, I highlighted an extremely important warning from Salim Varani in the post, A Very Disturbing and Powerful Post – “Get Your Loved Ones Off Facebook.” If you somehow missed that piece, go ahead and read it now. Here’s a an excerpt to give you a little taste:

“Oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to ask you why you’re getting off Facebook,” is the guilty and reluctant question I’m hearing a lot these days. Like we kinda know Facebook is bad, but don’t really want to know.

I’ve been a big Facebook supporter – one of the first users in my social group who championed what a great way it was to stay in touch, way back in 2006.

I got my mum and brothers on it, and around 20 other people. I’ve even taught Facebook marketing in one of the UK’s biggest tech education projects, Digital Business Academy. I’m a techie and a marketer — so I can see the implications — and until now, they hadn’t worried me. I’ve been pretty dismissive towards people who hesitate with privacy concerns.

With this latest privacy change on January 30th, I’m scared.
Given the company’s aggressive push to monetize all their users’ personal data and conversations, it was only a matter of time before we’d see an egregious real world example of what can go wrong.

It all went wrong for Daniel Kapp, an Austria-based strategic consultant diagnosed with prostrate cancer last month. Shortly after googling the disease, he became bombarded with funeral home advertisements on Facebook. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t get rid of them.

The Daily Mail reports that:

A cancer patient who searched online for support about his disease was left horrified when Facebook began placing advertisement for funeral directors on his Facebook feed.

Daniel Kapp, 46, was diagnosed with prostate cancer last month. Shortly after he used the web to learn more about the illness.

When he opened Facebook the following day he said he was ‘bombarded’ with ‘insensitive’ promotions that he couldn’t remove.

‘I was just knocked off my feet to see that there on the screen,’ said Mr Kapp, who works as a strategic consultant in Austria.

‘It is just completely insensitive. And every time I tried to delete it, it appeared again.’ 

He blamed Facebook for monitoring the data about the searches he had done and then using it in order to sell it on to potential advertisers.

When contacted by local media, the directors of the funeral companies said they were shocked their adverts were being used to target people in this way. One said: ‘I can confirm that this should never have happened.’

It gathers information about devices, sites people visit, searches they’ve made and demographic data they have entered into their account on the social network.

Initially these cookies were just used on the site, but in September Facebook launched its Atlas ad platform that monitors these movements around the wider web.

Today Facebook added a new tool called Topic Data that now additionally scans what people are ‘saying about events, brands, subjects and activities.’
More abuses to come. Virtually guaranteed.

Facebook has not yet responded to MailOnline’s request to comment on Mr Kapp’s complaints.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. One of the most significant indications things are turning around for the better and that humanity is growing up, is when Facebook begins to bleed users. Until then…


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