The article, Salesforce.com links up with Facebook for targeted ad delivery talks about how Salesforce.com is now providing marketers with pools of prospective customers,"they may already have a connection with on Facebook," though indirectly. Beyond this Salesforce.com also unveiled the a new tool they are calling "the Social Key" which will be able to avoid Facebook's "customer privacy" and provide marketers with access to, "a prospect's interests, likes and dislikes" so that they can better market their product.
In my opinion, this is a complete breach of privacy. Now, I do not have a Facebook, but I feel vulnerable with this Social Key. If companies are able to gain access to the likes and dislikes of people on Facebook then regardless of their privacy settings, then where does it go from here. Could not companies start tracking the websites I go on in the near future and then send me spam mail to buy their product based on my computer's ISBN#? This is just another step in the direction of breaking down individual privacy as companies play one big video game trying to press all the right buttons to win the prize and get our money. If I knew the individual likes and dislikes of a customer, just as Salesforce.com users would with the Social Key, I would market my product differently to each of these customers to try and entice their purchase. I might stretch the truth of the capabilities or uses of my product if I knew exactly what that customer wanted or got excited about.
Salesforce.com is a company that provides a customer relationship management product which essentially connects producers with consumers. With the Social Key they are just trying to give their customers the best product that they can, and a key to the Facebook's of over a billion people is quite a gold mine. It could make our entire economy more efficient and help lesser known start-up companies connect with a world of customers.
While these are positives to Salesforce.com, it has met criticism from people who believe that the customer relationship management industry needs more regulation. For example, in November 2007, Saleforce.com had many of its customer's data stolen in a cyber attack which was then used to send phishing emails to those customers. Phishing is the act of trying to take personal information from people through technology. Had this attack happened after the unveiling of the Social Key the private profiles of those Facebook users would now not only be available to the Salesforce.com users but to the entire world. Your data could be sold to companies over and over again to be able to better target you and manipulate you into buying their product.
Overall, we see that while Salesforce.com is only trying to provide the best product to their customers, they are also creating an environment which can breach the privacy of a good portion of the world's population. The Social Key could create a more efficient and open economy but in my opinion these positives do not outweigh the negatives of having your personal information be provided to a company that not only do I not know, I do not even have a connection with.