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Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to DevelopYour Business Online by Chris Brogan

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Chapter 39. Facebook and the Social Graph: Who Benefits

Sometimes it takes a while for something to sink in. Facebook asks me for all kinds of information on how I know the people I accept as friends, but I realized that I get nothing out of the exchange and that Facebook and potential advertisers gain tons.

Populating the social graph for Facebook is essentially modeling even more data for advertisers to absorb into their information banks. This isn't 100 percent bad. For instance, if advertisers looked at every friend I had and noticed that only 11 of them ever clicked a Facebook ad, wouldn't that tell them something? If my friends and their friends (by extension) all seem to spend time very actively on Facebook apps, that might reveal the value of building an application versus buying a more passive ad.

And who owns that data? For instance, suppose a "friend" on her own page links to me, and now we're linked as "friends" in Facebook. I can see her data, read her updates, and so on. But can I extrapolate that data out of the environment? I would hope not. Because it's one thing if we're real friends, but what if she's someone who maliciously just wants to slurp my data, add it to some kind of spammy marketing project, and move on?

I ask you: Who benefits from Facebook's Social Graph data? Just a thought worth considering while building your social media plans.

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