Free channels and services of social media generate income by selling advertising space to advertisers. It is a question of exchange, where the user provides information about themselves in exchange for the use of a free-of-charge service.
Channels and services of social media that are free to the user generate income by selling advertising space to advertisers. This means that the social media service customer is not the user, but the advertiser.
For example, when a person creates a profile on Facebook, s/he simultaneously gives the corporation the right to view and handle personal information and information on user behavior, such as actions and likes. It is a question of exchange, where the user provides information about themselves in exchange for the use of a free-of-charge service.
Facebook is free because it sells advertisers, in an indirect way, an expansive amount of data which it gathers from the users and which enables very powerful tools for advertisement targeting.
A social media service customer is not the user, but the advertiser.
As another example: the Google search engine shows personalized advertisements to the user, which are based on the past searches by the user.
Facebook is the pioneer of social media advertising, where other social media services, such as Instagram, get their ideas from when they develop their own advertising.
From the advertisers’ point of view there are several ways to improve your Facebook reach. No-one knows exactly how Facebook algorithms work, and they also keep changing once in a while but some well-informed guesses can be made.
Users hand over their information for the use of the social media corporation – the handover is a part of the terms and conditions, and they cannot be relinquished afterwards be with campaigns or boycotts.
Generally the post reach in Facebook is a sum of page reputation and previously gained post engagement. But as the advertiser is the true customer of Facebook, it is known that once your page gets big enough, Facebook is going to make you pay a share of your success.
So it is unofficially known that the more followers you have, the smaller percentage of them are going to see your post – unless you use the paid Facebook marketing tools. These are actually quite inexpensive and effective, since Facebook has gathered so much information of its user’s behavior – and the targeting tools are thus effective.
From time to time, the data collection methods of large corporations
become the topic of debate. Users do, however, hand over their information for the use of the social media corporation – the handover is a part of the terms and conditions, and they cannot be relinquished afterwards with campaigns or boycotts.
Still, every once in a while it would be worth discussing for what kind of purposes do we hand over our information to the services. Would it be for example possible to limit the right of the corporations to forward private information to other actors through legislation?