Facedeals: Will Anyone Trust It Enough To Use It?

from the to-enable,-or-not-enable,-that-is-the-question dept

If I can count on any two things in this world, it’s that salsa will always taste good, no matter what kind it is, and everyone will freak out at some point about privacy settings via Facebook. I mean, if Mark Zuckerberg’s sister can’t figure it out, what hope is there for my 91 year old Grandmother? That said, if you think it’s fun to watch confused fellow humans try to figure out simple pictures privacy and whatnot on Facebook, wait until the next generation of advertising techniques hits. That’s really been the problem when we’ve talked in the past about the “uncanny valley” and how these techniques will impact their markets: implementation is everything. Too creepy and the ads will be universally despised. Too optional and you risk a lack of adoption. Not tailored enough in an attempt to be less “creepy” and the ads aren’t effective.

Those are the thoughts in my mind when I see reports of emerging ads/deals technology like Facedeals.

Facial recognition cameras are installed at local businesses. These cameras recognize your face when you pass by, then check you in at the location. Simultaneously, your smartphone notifies you of a customized deal based on your Like history.

Find out which of your friends is willing to deal in illicit eyeballs, folks, because we’ve just gone Minority Report. Before your creepy-siren goes ballistic, keep in mind that this is strictly an opt-in service that users would have to allow on Facebook. On the other hand, the privacy settings for Facebook were supposed to be transparent as well and we’ve already discussed how well that’s working out. There’s an extremely fine line to walk here, and I don’t want to come off as a luddite, but I’m afraid that not enough users of Facebook will want to opt in to something like this unless they’re really shown some value in it which they can’t refuse.

Unless that happens, the above description is probably going to scare people. I don’t think the other details on their site help much, either.

The check-in app must be authorized via your Facebook account. With your help, the app verifies your most recent photo tags, using those to map the physical appearance of your face. Our custom-developed cameras then simply use this existing data to identify you in the real world. Personalized deals can now be delivered to your smartphone from all participating locations — all you have to do is show your face.

Sure, all I have to do is show my face and any place with one of these cameras (which I may not know when I enter the store) will check me in on Facebook. This is in stark contrast to the manual check-in on apps like Foursquare. It’s all I need to be minding my own business, doing some shopping, and have my friends see Facebook checking me in to “Dirty Randy’s Video Store”. Nah, I think I’d opt out.

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Comments on “Facedeals: Will Anyone Trust It Enough To Use It?”

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fogbugzd (profile) says:

This would probably be more acceptable to the public if the system didn’t publicly check you in automatically. It would be more acceptable to most people if it first pinged your cell phone and prompted you for a manual check-in. The visit would not show up on your timeline until you approved it.

However, what most people would not realize is that Facebook and its advertising associates would still record the fact that you were at the location even if you declined a manual check-in. The visit might not go onto your timeline for your friends to see, but you can bet that every company that has an interest in your demographic would have all the details.

The cameras would probably also track things that would not occur to the ordinary user. They would most likely record what parts of the store you visited, who you were with, and how long you stayed. Heck, I can envision a system that would track how frequently I went to the restroom and start sending ads for prostate medication.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

I won't even use Facebook on my phone

I give Facebook as little info as possible, so I refuse to use it on my phone. I don’t need to look at it when I am away from my computer anyway, so it isn’t as if I need mobile access to it. I haven’t yet gotten to the point of not using it at all, but I am increasingly bored with it.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Re: I won't even use Facebook on my phone

“I won’t even use Facebook”

I’ve thought about it quite a bit but haven’t gone that far. But I have pulled out lots of personal info, have entered in some fake info, and so on. I have never used outside apps (I refuse them), won’t use Facebook to log into other sites, and so on.

It has been handy to stay in touch with people I never see, but I am getting increasingly bored with the overall Facebook experience. That could be enough to get me to drop it altogether.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I won't even use Facebook on my phone

Sorry to burst your bubble but your data has been stored and will remain there forever for them to use, even if you delete the account.

I’ve at least pulled it out so it can’t be used publicly. Facebook was displaying info that I had indicated shouldn’t have been displayed, and when Facebook kept doing it, I had to delete it. Now there is much less on my Facebook page. Each time it changes its privacy policy, I take out more info.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Peaked

Maybe the end of the facebook era, how sad.

It’s always been inevitable. The very fact that a company can become dominant within a few years means another company can come along and do the same thing. Internet companies that have long-term staying power are rare. And companies that depend on advertising for revenue are especially vulnerable.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’ve always been concerned about Facebook and it’s invasion of user privacy. Needless to say, I’ve never been to Facebook and don’t plan at this late in the game to go.

Nor have I been fascinated with the idea of just having to have one of those high priced cell phones and the monthly plan that goes with it for the next 2 or whatever years.

Quite frankly, I’m concerned with personal privacy and it’s apparent loss without a mumble by the majority of the public. It doesn’t include a phone that can spy on you frequently wherever you go. I guess there’s not much I can do about cameras but most of it isn’t going to turn up much for info. Ya, I know I can’t escape it all but I sure as heck can dodge a good bit of it.

If you aren’t concerned for your privacy, others will be happy to take advantage of it and once it has been gathered you will always have a trail from then on. The question is… is it a path or an interstate?

Zakida Paul says:

What is the point of these ‘check in’ features of social networks? Have we become so sad as a society that we want to see where our friends have been? It’s a pointless feature that seems to be like it has been developed just for the sake of developing it and, as far as I can see, it is only useful if you think your wife is having an affair.

I keep all location services disabled on my phone and tablet and so shall it stay.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re:

i don’t routinely use check-in features either, but I think it’s a little disingenuous to ask “what is the point” of them. People go places, they meet up, they invite friends, they take photos, they talk about what shows they saw and what restaurants they ate at and what clubs they went to — it’s just a slightly different way of doing all that…

The feature definitely wasn’t developed for the sake of developing it — it sprung very organically from the way a lot of people were already using Facebook. Before checkins, plenty of people posted “Hey I’m at [Wherever] with [whoever] come join us!” statuses and the like. Now, for those who want it to be, that process is more automated and linked up with actual location data, which doesn’t seem all that scary.

Plus I assume anyone even vaguely tech-savvy who wants to have an affair is going to check in as Working late, fml — At The Office with Platonic Coworkers before switching off location and heading to the hotel

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Plus I assume anyone even vaguely tech-savvy who wants to have an affair is going to check in as Working late, fml ? At The Office with Platonic Coworkers before switching off location and heading to the hotel.

On bloke made the news because when he dropped his jacket his phone redialled his wife, who was able to listen to the following activities. When he got home his stuff was on the drive, and the locks had been changed.

Michael (profile) says:


I’m usually a bit less paranoid than Tim (though lately, he tends to be more correct…), but opting out of the ‘deal’ does not stop the camera from taking and collecting images, their system from matching you to an image, and Facebook collecting a great deal of real world information about where people have been.

I’m pretty sure my local mall would frown upon me wearing a ski mask to avoid this, so I think I may be screwed.

Anonymous Coward says:

privacy violations

I have the right as a NON Facebook user to NOT BE VIDIOTAPED and run through some nefarious facial recognition program at this fucknut company’s every whim. I will simply hire their lawyers away from service to that company and sue them like they have never been sued before OR I will stop spending any amount of money anywhere and will start a global boycott.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: privacy violations

I have the right as a NON Facebook user to NOT BE VIDIOTAPED and run through some nefarious facial recognition..

You might not want to go to a casino, or an airport, or near any sort of public protest, or near a….. on second thought – you might need to build a underground Faraday cage bunker and even that might not be enough.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: privacy violations

I have the right as a NON Facebook user to NOT BE VIDIOTAPED

No, actually, you don’t. If you’re in public, you can be recorded (just the same as you’re free to record everyone you see in public).

But you do raise my biggest problem with Facebook — that they collect and store information about people who do not use their service.

dm says:

The real issue here for me is that the cameras will be up and taking your picture in public whether you opt out or not — so your ducking into “Dirty Randy’s Video Store” will still be recorded. Who has access to that data? I’m sure the FBI and the CIA’s Tripwire will want a backdoor built in, and who’s to say how the corps will actually use this biometric data? We’ve seen that legal constraints aren’t so very constraining, that the corporate “slap on the wrist” culture is now in full effect,that cops won’t need a warrant to access the data, and that sleazy employees are always a danger.”hey that chic is hot, where does she live? ultimately, CCTV won’t be necessary if the corps are all subsidizing it under the guise of marketing.

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