Facebook Using Big Data to Push Ads Based on Your Photos

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Facebook Using Big Data to Push Ads Based on Your Photos

Facebook is at it again. What could possibly go wrong?

· Big Data Zone ·
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In a patent application published on November 10, Facebook applied to receive a patent on an app used in "predicting household demographics based on image data." As reported by The Verge, the system under development uses advanced data mining techniques to cross-reference users' photographs with "tags, descriptions, the poster's IP address, the list of Facebook users using that same address, and potentially other details." 

This new application comes on the heels of Facebook's 'family targeting' advertising strategy. Rolled out in the summer of 2017, family targeting looks to gather information on entire households at once. Facebook then uses this information to allow advertisers to reach more targeted audiences.  

By combining their new predictive analytics app with their family targeting strategy, Facebook is looking to use data science and AI to know how many people live in your house, the interests of those people, the types of clothes they wear (i.e. do your shirts have Nike swooshes or do your shoes have the Vans logo?), and how to target them with better ads. All through the photographs you post to their platform. 

For a bit of a deeper dive, here's the abstract from Facebook's patent application: 

An online system predicts household features of a user, e.g., household size and demographic composition, based on image data of the user, e.g., profile photos, photos posted by the user and photos posted by other users socially connected with the user, and textual data in the user's profile that suggests relationships among individuals shown in the image data of the user. The online system applies one or more models trained using deep learning techniques to generate the predictions. For example, a trained image analysis model identifies each individual depicted in the photos of the user; a trained text analysis model derives household member relationship information from the user's profile data and tags associated with the photos. The online system uses the predictions to build more information about the user and his/her household in the online system, and provide improved and targeted content delivery to the user and the user's household.

Despite the company's commercials that claim they've refocused on building a community, it appears Facebook is still in the business of making money off of your personal data — they're just changing the way they collect it.

big data, facebook, predictive analytics, targeted advertising

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