Analytical Report


Anonymous Student

Mr. Tian Peng

Central Global Communications

19 October 2013

FaceFriends Exposed

1. The Problem

Social media has changed the media world, becoming one of the most powerful tools to spread news,

ideas, and promotions to thousands of people instantaneously. Recently, FaceFriends, one of the

biggest social networking firms, was accused of distrusting its users, questioning the integrity of

advertisers, and breaking the law.

2. Impact on Social Media Users

Advertising and investment solely support FaceFriends; it has been selling personal, statistical, and

demographic data on users for years. The New York Times reports, “It is estimated to be worth at

least $75 billion” (Andrews). However, now people have found out about this practice, and many are

angry and complaining. A creative project manager at Boys & Girls Clubs of America in Atlanta

says, “Consumers are being pinned like insects to a pinboard, the way we’re being studied”

(Angwin). People are also having trouble understanding the long lists of permissions, especially if

the terms are technical. But there is a larger issue, “Even if people understand the permissions they

grant, they might not grasp the unexpected ways that their data may be used in the future” (Angwin).

This is becoming a national PR disaster.

3. User Agreements and Information Access

Ad space is sold by FaceFriends to companies that want to reach prospective consumers. Advertisers

choose key words or details like relationship status, location, activities, favorite books, and

employment. FaceFriends then runs the ads for the targeted subset of its users. It is said that the

“magnitude of online information available about each of us for targeted marketing is stunning”

(Andrews). When creating an account with FaceFriends, the user agrees to certain terms and

conditions. This dictates, …