MasterCard through its Priceless Technology has signed a two-year deal with Facebook which will access Facebook data.
Here’s the gig: MasterCard intends to then sell your thoughts, behavior, posts, conversations, likes, connections, all packaged up neatly into an insights pack to on-sell to the banks.
In turn the banks can use your anonymised data to sell their products right back to you.
It just seems something is very wrong with this scenario. Many of us have a private Facebook account, or as private as we think it is. Facebook started collecting data from the outset of a person joining, which is like the way back machine now. People participated freely, with no knowledge Facebook was going to sell their profiles and content, so they could be sold back to, making profits for all involved, except you, the user.
MasterCard used Priceless Technology for first time in Australia to sell the Justin Timberlake 20/20 Experience World Tour. Whilst the whole data snooping freaks me out, somehow Justin Timberlake’s tour doesn’t sound as scary as my data, deep data being sold to my bank and / or any other bank for that matter.
That is not where the real risk is from Priceless Technology.
“Priceless Engine [is] an innovative new platform for marketing that allows the brand to provide its bank partners with the deep insights that help them deliver the right offers to their customers at the right time,” MasterCard said in a statement. MasterCard will start working with Australian banks in early 2015, but the company has not said how much it will charge for the use of its service, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Having read some of the comments being posted over the last 24 hours, I have to say the real issue here is data consolidation. Targeted brand marketing in this way, is rude, but imagine if all the information collected from:
- your location at anytime;
- your economic and spending data;
- your connections, your IP address at just a click on a photo;
- your thoughts and attitudes;
- social media activity linked to your search and internet history;
- your mobile and phone usage;
- census data,
- loyalty card usage; and
- your religious views;
was all being amalgamated by governments. Forget a “nanny state” it is an “Orwellian state”.
As we know, comments and thoughts are subjective and often mis-construed out of context, a common occurrence on a good old email at times. The scenario of a government data amalgamation machine to track its own people (such as China) is dangerous and ethically wrong for a Western democratic society. You could say one thing and before you know it, taken out of context, you are in the slammer.
I know many people won’t care. They will keep giving up more and more. Every time I read how Facebook is mercilessly looking at every way to sell their freedom, I shudder and close yet another attempt at a Facebook account down.
Update: October 9, 2014: the headline and first line of this article were amended to remove references to Facebook and MasterCard selling your data to the banks.
Facebook has responded to this article: “We applaud what Mastercard is doing with their “Priceless Engine” but, to clarify, we are not providing them, or any other company, personal data of Facebook users. We are working with them to create targeting clusters within Facebook… Mastercard is also able to use Facebook’s Audience Insight tools to better understand the effectiveness of their campaigns and insights for future optimization.”
Fi Bendall is the managing director of Bendalls Group, a team of highly trained digital specialists, i-media subject matter experts and developers.