Do you 'want' Facebook to know even more about you? If your answer was 'no,' then that's really too bad since Facebook has confirmed that is testing a new Collections feature. The company is currently testing "want," "like," and "collect" buttons. Different people will see different buttons during this testing period. About a third of users will see each of the new actions, but, as Reuters reported, "Facebook's new Collections feature will gradually be offered to 100 percent of its U.S. users." Furthermore, "Unlike Facebook's existing 'like' button, the feature that Facebook is testing will showcase the 'liked' item within a user's Timeline profile page."
Facebook told PCMag that it's starting with a "small test in which a few select businesses will be able to share information about their products through a feature called Collections." The company is working with these retailers: Victoria's Secret, Pottery Barn, Michael Kors, Wayfair, Neiman Marcus, Fab.com and Smith Optics.
Mashable added, "As a user, you won't see the photos unless you or one of your friends have 'Liked' one of them. The images are designed to be discovered in the news feed, and people will be able to engage with these collections and share things they are interested in with their friends. Users can also click through and buy the items via Facebook."
Collecting massive amounts of desired-based data about users would be like hitting the mother lode for advertisers. The difference between "liking" and "wanting" would be like discovering the holy grail of datamining. Inside Facebook said that although the "Want" button is different than the Want plugin that developer Tom Waddington noticed in June, the company may eventually offer it as a plugin.
Unsurprisingly, Facebook wants to keep people on the site as opposed to leaving to visit Pinterest. Collections will offer retailers a Pinterest-like option to engage buyers, offer users a way to collect images, while also collecting even more data about users. For example, Facebook asks, "Why are you collecting this?" Regardless of a user's answer, the wants and collects will surely be used to deliver targeted ads. Eventually, the Collections feature could help Facebook generate more revenue.
"E-commerce is one of the best ways to monetize the Internet," Robert W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian told Reuters. "Thinking about how large they are as a platform and how engaged people are, there are lots of levers they haven't pulled yet in terms of monetization. In addition to potentially collecting a transaction fee for referring users to an e-commerce site," he said, "retailers might also pay Facebook to promote products featured on users' wishlists, similar to the way the Facebook's current ads function."
There's still no "dislike" button, but even if there were, and that's what you voted for Facebook's Collection idea, then there is no doubt that the info would still be collected and used to better target and serve ads to you.
Images courtesy of Facebook
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Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. Smith has a diverse background in information technology, programming, web development, IT consulting, and information security. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.
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