Facebook's smartphone launch raises alarms with consumer advocates who worry that more ease for consumers also means less privacy, as Facebook extends its capacity to mine personal data.
Using Facebook on your phone? Soon, the company will make it much easier, but, some say, at a steep cost to your privacy.
That's the tradeoff as the social media giant announces on Thursday that it is launching a branded smartphone that will reportedly operate on software called Facebook Home. Unlike the current Facebook app that allows users to access the site, the new Facebook phone will further integrate the software into features such as text messaging, photo uploading, and more.
As more consumers transition their online habits from desktop computers to smartphones and tablets, advertisers are following. The phone allows Facebook to tap into the lucrative US mobile advertising market that is expected to be worth $7.29 billion by the end of 2013, according to eMarketer.
However, consumers and privacy advocates are concerned.
The phone is the latest development to highlight the many privacy concerns activists and consumers have raised about Facebook, today the leading social network in the world with more than 1 billion users. Critics warn about the covert ways they say the company solicits personal information – ranging from mobile phone numbers and addresses to personal tastes based on what activities users have chosen to “like” – and then makes it available to advertisers.
With consumers using Facebook to shape their online identity – expressing their preference for a neighborhood restaurant, a certain type of music, their favorite clothing retailer, or how often they read books or see movies – the social media platform becomes a greater resource for advertisers that seek to finely hone their messages.
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