The online social media company, Facebook, plans to release a new feature in its platform that would allow advertisers to access users’ profiles and faces.
Facebook, which already has access to millions of its user’s personal information, is seeking to patent a new technology that can effectively scan and analyze a user’s image in search of logos, brands, and specific things in the picture.
Suppose a user uploads pictures with items such as alcoholic drinks, snacks, or other products. In that case, Facebook will send those images to the brands, who will then turn those images into adverts for other platform users to see.
The patent, which would be responsible for all these, called “Computer-vision content detection for sponsored stories,” has since been granted.
As reported by the Daily Telegraph, once officially implemented, it will allow advertising companies and brands to access users’ photos, profiles, and more details of targeted ads’ news feeds and stories.
This will automatically mean a change in the algorithm and how other users get to experience one’s profile. The algorithm will prioritize any sponsored story or picture of users showing any brand or logo they like.
A photo of someone chilling and enjoying a lovely view could remain at the bottom of a featured album on their wall in favour of a post of them holding a bottle of coca cola or some other brand logo.
At the same time, some other posts could even stay days on friends’ feeds, depending on the algorithm settings.
Additionally, this means big business for Facebook; since many users have no idea how Facebook’s advertising business works, limitless demographic data would be provided to targeted advertising companies and brands.
However, the patent alludes to a bidding process in a more detailed section, where users who engage in sponsoring certain products will be paid dependent on who the user is and how many times a post is clicked, viewed, or presented to a particular demographic.
Targeted advertising companies would have a heat map that would enable them to judge the density at which a product has been bought and the exact location of the purchased item. The more pictures of people using a product in an area, the more popular it gets.
The technology could thus understand a company’s presence in a particular market. Facebook, however, suggests that dependent on one’s privacy settings, only users with access to one’s profiles would be able to look at the sponsored story.
While the technology does not currently exist, the patent creates a noticeable framework for targeted advertising that could change the use of social media.
Speaking about the patent and its implementation, the CEO of Bloomreach, Raj De Datta, said:
“Only time will tell if this idea takes off, but brands should consider how they want their customers and prospects to feel when they encounter their services or products online. Is an annoying or creepy ad really the right investment?”
De Datta implored organizations to consider whether this is the right way to attract customers. He also mentioned that whilst most people are happy for their data to be used if it enhances their daily experience, they’re not so willing to hand it over to firms to make money from unwarranted advertising.
He implored organizations to consider if this is truly the right way to attract customers before stating that whilst most people are happy for their data to be used if it enhances their daily experience, they’re not so willing to hand it over to firms to make money from unwarranted advertising.