Rate This Location!

By Ryan Majeau | Posted in my blog for

Three stars rating. Hand cursor.Looks like Facebook has another new ‘feature’ to go alongside the likes of suggested friends, apps or ‘people you may know’—enter ‘rate this place’. You may have noticed, since the places it wants you to rate hit pretty close to home. Maybe one of them IS your home? That’s right, chances are if you’ve checked-in somewhere in the past—whether last week, last year or even beyond—Facebook wants to know more. How would you rate that?

I admit, when it comes to Facebook I can be quite a passive, borderline lurker if you will (stop laughing). Yes I’ll casually browse, but often I don’t really pay that much attention (other than a blitz “like” session).

Lately though, some things have been sticking out. On my iPhone, Facebook would like me to rate places, with 1-5 stars. Well isn’t that nice. The creepy thing is, these places aren’t random. I’ve been to all of them. Um WHAA?

I’ve told you before, you are what you like. Likes are public. So are check-ins! Yes I’ve stayed at the Alpine Inn, it was the convergence point for all of my friends from all over to gather the night before heading to a music festival as one big happy group the next day. Of course I’d post some pics, tag my friends, and duh, post where we were! We made it, we were ready, where’s everyone else?!

Seems Facebook is trying to reach further into the cookie jar to pull even more personal info from us. Facebook knows what you did last summer, or the one before that. It hasn’t forgot, even though you may have! *cue scary music* It’s one thing to check in somewhere, it’s another to start rating it. No? Harmless you say? A friend came over one day a couple of years ago and checked in to my apartment (creating Chateau Majeau or something as a location). Well, Facebook asked him to rate my apartment. See, creepy!

If check-ins are public knowledge, rating the place pretty much gives away full license for them to use your pic, info—and whatever else you have unrestricted—in future marketing campaigns.

That’s right. Your face, endorsing their location. Look, you’re famous now! You won’t see your name in lights, but your friends will! Plus, y’know, anyone else on Facebook that your check-in falls within their demographic. Do the math (actually don’t, it’ll hurt your brain—hint: it’s a lot!).

Yes, I find it creepy. Maybe you don’t? Call me biased, or jaded if you want. To some, seeing a nostalgic destination pop up on Facebook requesting a rating might bring up all sorts of warm’n’fuzzy feelings. OMG five stars! Done! To others, it’s going to freak the crap out of them.

In the end. it’s just another cog in Facebook’s grand master scheme to be able spoon feed you ads that are tailored just for you (thus making them more $!). They market this as a convenience to you, to serve you better. And you know what? It’s true.

Think about it! Why would I want to see ads for sports related things just because I’m a man of a certain demographic who may live next to two sporting event arenas? That’s not me. Send me ads for tech toys, funky watches, lululemon sales or anything Star Trek related? Sold!

It’s a fine line between privacy and convenience. Opening ourselves up reveals a world of opportunity for having a personalized advertising experience wherever we go. What does it cost? Not much, just a chunk of our privacy. No biggie. …right?

Admit it though, policies you don’t give a second thought to today are probably ones you would have screamed and shouted about years ago, saying “they’ll never get me to hand over that!”

Well, times have changed. That doesn’t make the new order of things any less creepy. Don’t even get me started on retargeting ads. More on that next time!