Back in February, Facebook launched Facebook Reactions, 6 new ways of reacting to a post. The feature is basically a more expressive “Like” button as it gives Facebook users more ways to express love, awe, humour, and sadness, just to name a few.
It was a great new addition to Facebook as it rolled out just as “liking” was quickly becoming uninteresting and the social media giant was turning less personal. It also encourages users to interact with posts more.
Just like you, we think that the new emojis on Facebook are cute, but apparently, it has a catch. The police are now warning netizens not to use Facebook Reactions to protect their privacy.
Well, the Belgian police, at least.
According to them, Facebook is using Facebook Reactions as a gauge to collect information about its users and deciding how best to push ads to them.
A post on Belgian’s official police website reads, “The icons help not only express your feelings, they also help Facebook assess the effectiveness of the ads on your profile.” The Belgian police also claimed that the site is able to use the tool to tell when people are likely to be in a good mood and then use that to decide when is the best time to show them ads.
The post went on to say, “By limiting the number of icons to 6, Facebook is counting on you to express your thoughts more easily so that the algorithms that run in the background are more effective. By mouse clicks you can let them know what makes you happy. So that will help Facebook find the perfect location, on your profile, allowing it to display content that will arouse your curiosity but also to choose the time you present it. If it appears that you are in a good mood, it can deduce that you are more receptive and able to sell spaces explaining advertisers that they will have more chance to see you react.”
As such, if people want to protect their privacy, they should avoid using Facebook Reactions.
Facebook has maintained that reacting angrily to a post would be treated as any other kind of engagement. However, because Facebook treats engaging with a post as an indication that users want to see more things like it, this could mean that reacting angrily could lead to seeing similar posts and that data could be sold to advertisers.
Use at your own risk, we reckon?
Source: The Independent.