An In-Depth Look At Facebook’s Data Privacy & Social Media Data Mining Today



There are certain important facts and news which every business and consumer should know as they go about the marketplace for their own protection and gain. This involves the role of Facebook in data privacy and social media in data mining.

Policies on the Internet

When business owners and marketers are familiar with relevant trade and market policies and procedures, the operational processes run smoothly for them to enjoy satisfactory gains. This involves the rise and influence of new technologies and marketing platforms such as social media.

Facebook has become highly popular for business owners and marketers with its ability to promote personal data in the market. This has led to rampart flow of web traffic to the business site which is great news to the brand and company. The social media giant, Facebook, is now opening up their data policy to businesses and market authorities for greater benefits to all parties.

There are certain features on Facebook such as the LIKE button on its web pages that could be of great use to the business as it allows easy access to the personal profile of the user easily.  However, there must be the apt user privacy settings that shield the web user from unauthorized manipulation.

Personal data should not be easily accessed by companies without the permission of the rightful owner. Hence, there need to be proper security rules and regulations imposed to ensure that unauthorized parties would view very little or nothing about the user unless apt permission is procured.

Casual social media users tend not to view the fine prints or specific details of accessibility in any privacy agreement; much less their own privacy settings in their site or blog. They may blindly click on the consent button when they want quick access to the free gift or business gain offered. Many social media users tend to forget what they have placed on their Facebook profile after a while. Very few make an update on their personal profile data over time.

Web User Initiatives

Web users can easily download their own data via a few steps.

1. Log in to Facebook

2. Click on the drop down arrow at the top right corner

3. Click on Settings

4. Click on Facebook information

5. Click View on Download Information

6. Select preferred options

7. Click on Create File

These steps then send a link to the web user email for downloading all profile data where every conversation and image could be viewed. Today, Facebook offers 98 personal data points in a profile which could be accessed by companies for their marketing endeavors.

Facebook Ad Targeting 

The collation of user information from the profile by Facebook is to target web users with relevant and interesting ads. This allows the creation of dynamic ads that convey the right message to targeted audiences.

Some of the common points of reference by Facebook advertisers include:

  1. Age
  2. Gender
  3. Race
  4. Primary Language spoken
  5. Latest Education Level Completed
  6. School or college attended
  7. Geographic location
  8. Income 
  9. Type of Home Owned and estimated Value
  10. Interests and Hobbies

Advertisers’ Pot of Gold

Such personal information could prove to be a pot of gold for business owners and marketers who know how to manipulate it accurately in a timely manner. The basic information about targeted audiences would be their personal interests. Business owners and marketers could view the subscriptions and memberships of the web user which reveal a lot more for effective marketing purposes.

Today, Facebook has updated its API which permits third-party app access, group access limitations and guest exclusion list from Events API. Sufficient information on the personal profile allows business owners and marketers to make contact with the web user easily via email address, phone number or full name.

Data Mining

Facebook also stores a permanent record of deletions by web users from their Facebook group. A deletion does not mean a permanent disposal; it is just not outwardly visible to the public but still retained by Facebook. This includes the exact signing up and logging in to the social media platform every time.

Hence, with some business negotiations, it is likely to have personal information fall into the hands of Facebook advertisers and use such information to connect with targeted consumers in promoting their brand or products. The availability of relevant personal information like web user interests, age, behavior or geographic location helps marketers develop more dynamic ads to lure consumers.

It is impertinent to note that potential customer data is collected when the ad is clicked on as well as via the device or the Internet connectivity used. Facebook identifies and stores every page and post that is ‘Like’ and ‘Share’.

Another milestone of data mining by Facebook is its ability to track birthdays, marriages and anniversaries. It can store and track any significant event or date for further manipulation or reminder. Employment information could also be recorded in the storehouse of this social media giant.

Truth about Data Privacy

However, every party should be concerned about their privacy settings on Facebook; these should be adjusted to limit the type and quantum of data shared and viewed as there are many third-party apps which have been authorized for access. The truth stands that almost every other party is likely to be tapping on such collated user data in one form or another at one time for targeted advertising.

The fact is that a host of data is constantly collected on everyone at all times and places. A loyalty card or credit card is another simple life example where data are collated for the likes of targeted advertising. This is known to be a standard or common action which Facebook and other social media network is deploying. This also happens with every modern and sophisticated digital device such as mobile phones and tablets.


The best approach towards this data mining issue is to embrace the opportunities generated from the situation. Facebook itself has transformed tremendously to seize every opportunity for growth as the market environment changes.


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