That question is meant 100% seriously. The issue isn't that I find Facebook creepy. I don't, really. But today's story about the company tracking drug store purchases to display more relevant ads to users is a good example of the tension between social media and social mores.
For now, Facebook uses aggregated information about the lives of its hundreds of millions of users to place relevant ads next to pictures and stories from our friends. That's how it makes money. Our information is currency. More information makes better ads with better click-throughs at better rates for Facebook.
But the road to more information runs straight into user fears of creepiness. Today, to get advertisers more information, Facebook announced that it is partnering with Datalogix, a company that can tell whether a social network ad-click leads to a purchase. Datalogix has done similar work with CVS's ExtraCare card program. As The Atlantic Wire reported in an article entitled "Facebook Now Knows What You're Buying at Drug Stores":
Facebook will be using Datalogix to prepare reports for its advertisers about who, if anyone, bought more of their stuff after they ran ads on the social network. But by matching your Facebook profile with your CVS bill, this means that Facebook has the potential to know some of your most intimate details (my, that's a lot of bunion cream you're buying!), and the privacy concerns are enormous. When DoubleClick attempted something similar to this, user-backlash ultimately led them to cancel the project.
Consumer advocacy groups are pushing back. "We don't believe any of this online-offline data should be used without express consumer approval and an opt-in," Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy told the Financial Times.