Facebook Plans to Monetize by Selling Your Data?
Facebook has been offering advertising space now for some time, but it hasn’t had the overall effect that the social network powerhouse is looking for. For the last year Facebook has supposedly been working on a new style of Engagement Ads. They bring social and viral to advertising in a whole new way. Some are concerned though that the ads will bring the potential for private data to be sold.

Facebook is rumored to have plans to begin implementing new engagement based ads they previewed at the World Economic Forum in Davos. And although these ads are nothing new, they do have a new approach according to sources.

Facebook’s new advertising set up is said to be largely poll based and will collect various data from users and funnel it to appropriate persons. There are also reports that Facebook is attempting to update statuses or “walls” when you interact with an ad or poll so that it adds a viral aspect to the advertising, even if it is only in-house.

The “new” ads are set to be polls placed on the first page you go to when you go to Facebook. They are designed to gather information in a fun and interactive way. Businesses will be able to direct specific questions to the public and gather direct responses to that question.

Companies and market analysts can then take that information and apply it to demographics, regions, and start discovering what people want and where. For polls like this to be really effective analysts will also need access to age, location, sex, marital status and potentially more; which is where the problem comes in.

Rumor or Well-kept Secret?

It is being called a “sentiment engine”, a new set of engagement ads and an attempt to sell your information. But according to Facebook, their poll-driven set of ads is nothing new nor is the system they are built with. There even seems to be some debate as to the use of the data collected by them as well and whether or not the rumors floating are true.

All sides of the argument have merit. Advertisers and marketers are looking for new and exciting ways to engage the public, the public is concerned about personal data being sold and Facebook is trying to stay up during a down economy. 

The problem surrounding all of it is concrete word from Facebook that rumors are true. They reportedly told ReadWriteWeb.com that there have been no changes to existing engagement ads or polls on Facebook and that the system shown at Davos was not new at all.

Right, wrong, or simply untrue may not be relevant, though. In a troubled economy where retailers are scrambling to avoid bankruptcy, banks are closing their doors around the world, and even Microsoft is laying off Facebook needs to do something because simple traffic numbers may not be enough in the end.