Science and TechSocial Media


Belgian Police Warn Using Facebook's Reactions May Compromise Privacy

Advertisers and marketers could use the reaction data to target ads, but Facebook isn't giving them enough information to do that yet.
Posted at 5:10 PM, May 14, 2016

Belgian police are warning people that reacting to a Facebook post could be compromising individuals' privacy — but that's not really a huge revelation.

When the social media site rolled out the option to do more than just like posts in February, it was because users and Facebook agreed: Liking just couldn't accurately express empathy for certain topics.

Adding reactions also gave Facebook a little more data about what makes users happy, sad, mad and all that other stuff. 

Now, Belgian police say the emotions could also "help assess the effectiveness of the ads on your profile." That's valuable information for marketers and advertisers.

But Facebook isn't giving away any detailed breakdowns — at least not for ads. If you like a page's post, admins of the page can see how many people loved or hated it. But if you react to an ad, those finer details aren't apparent.

So, yes, Facebook could sell your valuable reactions to the groups who want it most — like Google or any number of other sites do — but it's not, yet.

And it probably won't even entertain the idea until more Facebook users start to use the reactions. Right now, the bulk of post interactions are still just liking, commenting and sharing posts.

This video includes clips from Facebook.