What If Social-Media-Like Privacy Concerns Hit Traditional TV?

A couple of weeks ago, a friend from high school contacted me through Facebook. He suggested I might want to try a new application -- something like "See Who Is Looking at Your Facebook Page."

I clicked on -- only to realize a nanosecond later my mistake. Every one of my Facebook friends got a message from me wondering if they wanted to try a new application, finding out who might be looking at their pages.

That one click clicked off my friends the wrong way.

"Is this a scam!" shouted one of my friends back at me -- through an email. He was a senior TV executive." Yes," I said, pissed. "Don't do business with Facebook" was my guttural and immediate response.

A couple of days later I wondered if I trusted Facebook -- or my longtime friend -- less. In the end, I chalked it up to a mistake on his end, and then on my part.

More importantly, I wondered if this incident could be transferable to traditional TV, in a couple of different areas. What if there was an application that allowed you to see what traditional TV programs your friends were watching - in real time? What would this mean for marketers to access this kind of knowledge? Finally, what if it all turned out to be a scam? What would be the effect?



Facebook executives say they are getting better at the whole privacy thing, making changes that will make it easier for its 500 million users to adjust what they want their friends -- if not the whole world -- to see.

But the temptation for marketers to get closer to their customers, in good ways and bad, has always been a drug tough to ignore.

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