Hey, here’s a question for you. If a random stranger came up to you on the street and started demanding you to tell them about who you’d like to be stuck in an elevator with or what your guilty pleasures are, do you think you would:
A) Tell them.
B) Run for safety.
Probably not the first one, right? Yet Facebook is banking on this being the next way to acquire even more personal data about its users, per TechCrunch, by rolling out a “Did You Know” feature which asks them to answer various personal questions. While some of the questions seem fun or relatively harmless, like “The superpower I want most is...” or “Mondays make me feel like...”, others seem of obvious use in marketing—like asking about users’ favourite sports teams, what their hidden talents are, what they would buy if they won the lottery, and both of the questions posed up top.
As TechCrunch noted, it’s a strategy to keep users inputting text as they move away from written statuses and towards sharing multimedia content. Facebook acquired a startup named tbh in October which specialised in having users answer “light and friendly questions about their friends.” Though the Did You Know feature currently asks users to share info about themselves, it seems an awful lot like Facebook is testing the waters before it moves on to tbh’s original promise of grilling users about friends and family.
Though virtually everything about Facebook is centred around getting users to share as much as possible so they can sell extremely effective targeted ads—the site now controls over a fifth of digital ad dollars and has terrifying marketing profiles on users—this seems a little on the nose. Perhaps it’s kind of silly to get concerned now, when Facebook is really just trying to suck up what little morsels of user information they haven’t already given it freely. Everyone knows on some level, that there’s a trade-off between using Facebook and giving up personal data. But people are starting to wise up to the game being played.
In any case, Facebook regularly tests out features from the mundane to the slightly concerning to the industry-shaping on users, meaning this could just end up being another one of its experiments. [TechCrunch]