New Facebook Partnerships Help Save Money, but at What Cost?
Facebook is launching a new service known as Cartwheel. Through the stratagem, users will be able to see promotions for certain products from various retailers they enjoy. It could definitely help people save money, but Hemu Nigam, CEO of SSP Blue, an online security firm, recently penned an article on HLN.com about the online privacy issues that may arise with Cartwheel.
Facebook Advertising Basics
Advertisements on Facebook are nothing new. In addition to the ads you see in the sidebar of your screen when looking at Facebook, you may also see promotions appearing in your actual News Feed. Furthermore, you'll probably see posts on your Feed encouraging you to "like" businesses that your friends may be following as well.
Cartwheel takes a bit of a different approach. According to Nigam, Facebook users can log into websites like Cartwheel.Target.com using their credentials from the social network to see promotions that they can use at any Target location. But there's an inherent issue with concepts like Cartwheel.
"Despite its appeal, users will be expected to pay a price for these discounts - a coast measured in privacy rather than dollars. Cartwheel is designed to promote most selected items on News Feeds belonging to Facebook friends, which essentially removes the anonymity of the digital retail process and adds unsolicited advertising into an experience that many users might consider a sacred opportunity to keep in touch with friends and loved ones," writes Nigam.
A Scary Trend
Nigam adds that there will be new privacy measures put in place to assuage the fears of users who are worried about online and mobile security. However, the issue of Cartwheel is indicative of a scary trend, one that suggests fewer and fewer people are thinking about their privacy when using social networks or shopping online.
A recent report by Marketo, published on Mashable, suggests that 13 million Facebook users have "never touched their privacy settings." Around 28 percent share all or almost all of their wall posts with people who aren't their official friends.
If you are among these numbers, you must begin to take online security seriously. By taking the time to review your privacy settings, you could be saving yourself a major headache down the road. You should also be watching the posts you make and the pages you like to verify that they will only be shared with people whom you consider friends. It's not a bad idea to occasionally weed through your Facebook friends to remove people who seem to care less about privacy, as well as those who are less familiar to you.
When filling out your online profile, take a moment to think about the information you want people to be able to view. Is it wise to post your only email address and phone number? Instead, it may be smart to list a disposable phone number that can easily be replaced, and allow people to message you through Facebook rather than email.
Don't let your Facebook usage compromise your safety! Always be cautious when using the website, whether you're posting an update or finding promotions.