Facebook Tries Offering Some Transparency, Fails At First

Ok, I admit it. I was checking my Facebook at work. Apparently “everyone does it” to some extent and I’m pretty good about limiting myself. Plus a little procrastination is good here and there.

At any rate, I saw something interesting at the top of my page after I logged in:

“Ah, that’s cool”, I thought, having some idea of Facebook’s revenue model and appreciating how they were going out of their way to explain this to users. After clicking on it, though:

Oh. Hmm… Interesting. Did I click something wrong?

Nope, this is the URL for both the “About Ads:” and “Get the Details” links.

When a company like Facebook grows to a size and reach that is a great deal larger than even a year prior, it makes sense users will start to wonder about the company. Have its goals changed? Does the company still have the same culture in terms of respecting privacy, etc? When you’re talking about a multi-billion dollar company that has unprecidented access to your personal information, there are all sorts of questions you should be asking.

It’s funny how, despite it’s size and the experience of the people who work there, they can still make a simple mistake like this. We’re all human, after all. Even webmasters. Other websites have broken links all the time, it’s just that, when you’re Facebook-sized, it can be read as them saying “Want to know how things work behind the curtain here? Do you? …Hah! We’re not telling!” That is, if they didn’t fix the error – which, in the course of my writing out this, they have:

It actually does a great job of presenting common concerns and questions in a remarkably simple way. Although none of this is new information, it’s great they have taken things further and made a real effort to reach more of their users. Solid PR effort, as far as I’m concerned.

Check out the privacy page here: https://www.facebook.com/about/ads/

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