Does the right to advertise supersede the right to privacy? The Facebook user vs advertiser conflict.

Remove the advertising from Facebook and you remove the need for privacy invading data that advertisers need in order to target users. Offer an ad-free alternative to its 2.52 billion users at a low monthly fee of only $5 each, with privacy, and its income would go from $55 billion to $140 billion. No ads mean no need for intrusive user data. Users get privacy and Facebook triples its income.

Since when does the right to advertise supersede the right to privacy? Never.

Yet, how are we supposed to get our messages in front of potential customers? We’d have to innovate and figure that out as marketers.

Is Facebook an organization in the business of earning money or are they just selling out their customers to the highest bidders because they can? Why else would they settle for less money and more work for themselves? They could have several types of Facebook feeds that users could choose from. There’s more money to be made catering to end-users than to the advertisers, so why are they doing it?

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All one has to do is look at the history of the newspaper and magazine periodical over the past 250 years, up to and including many discussions around citizens rights, subscriptions, and so on by the nation’s founders in order to question Facebook’s motives (and the rest of its social media brethren who don’t have enough confidence in the value of their platforms to think users would actually pay to use it; nothing’s free).

Yes, even in the late 1700s, the founders warned against speculators and advertisers misleading the citizens of the new nation as publications — and catalogs — sprang up everywhere.

Subscriptions were given special mailing rates over advertising catalogs because the citizens, by indicating the material was worth paying for, were acknowledging and proving that they wanted to receive specific publications.

If Facebook removed the old ad-driven publishing model, bringing social media into a truly modern world, users would have their privacy and be able to share with friends and family again without the intrusiveness of unvetted ads and data targeting. And Facebook would triple their income.

But what about all the advertisers who use social media to advertise, to reach potential customers? That should not be the problem of the citizen; as the citizen’s right to privacy supersedes advertisers’ rights to “target” and violate them. Again, but then how do we reach potential customers? And again, we’d have to innovate and figure that out. We should not be making our problem our customers’ problem.


All social media has done in their criticism and over-taking of traditional media is just that: over take it, then defaulting to the same tired old ad-driven model of the past 150 years but without the burden of proof in content, responsibility, permissions, and libel laws that traditional media are subject to, as should be.

Nor do social media platforms compensate their writers and photographers (users) for the content those ads are attached to even though traditional media is expected to compensate its editorial content talent. (As a retired publisher, admittedly, this one bugs me, a lot. Traditional media is expected to pay, as we should, writers and photographers for their works; while social media does not have to compensate us, yet they’re selling ads to attach to our posts? Really?)

So, using a digital medium instead of a paper medium, and not paying talent but using the same old business model as those who do, is somehow revolutionary and progressive? No, it isn’t; it is unfair competition; its a bunch of little control freaks in Silicon Valley insisting on reinventing the publishing wheel, thousands of years of publishing insights. They intentionally threw the real publishers out with the print bath water? Oh. Brother.

“. . . Magazines, as well as common Gazettes, might spread through every city, town and village in America. I consider such easy vehicles of knowledge, more happily calculated than any other, to preserve the liberty, stimulate the industry and meliorate the morals of an enlightened and free People.” — George Washington, 1788



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