Facebook’s MLB Opening Day Data

04 Apr Facebook’s MLB Opening Day Data

Monday kicked off baseball season, and one social media platform was locked and loaded with some fun data for the occasion. Facebook pulled information from its 1.11 billion users to create the chart below, which shows the most popular baseball teams by U.S. county, according to the Wall Street Journal

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It’s a great reminder of how valuable all that user data can be for social networks like Facebook—and why selling that data to corporate interests is (potentially) a big piece of the financial viability equation for “free” social networks.

For example, this baseball team affiliation information could be packaged and sold to MLB clothing and memorabilia companies. And transactions like that could help defray the need for advertising on social networks—which most users dislike.

But are we really comfortable with aggregated social data being sold to third parties? What if it’s something benign like baseball team preference? What’s the responsibility of a social network to use the data they collect in a way that’s ethical and aligned with user expectations? And is this really preferable to seeing ads for our favorite products?

In possibly related news, we’ve been seeing recent chatter about Facebook blocking or demoting corporate posts from user feeds, in an attempt to entice those companies to advertise. There’s no proof that this is happening yet, but it’s definitely something companies should keep an eye on as they consider investing in social media outreach.

 

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Kate Nesbitt
knesbitt@speakerboxpr.com
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