Facebook has been on everybody's minds lately, and probably not in a good way (have you seen those memes from Zuckerburg's meeting with Congress??). Don't write off Facebook just yet, though. There is plenty of good that has come from Facebook, and they are on the way to righting their wrongs and making the platform even better.
Facebook has over 2 billion monthly active users. Many of these users are in places that have been impacted by natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, and wildfires. After disasters like this strike many people don't know if their loved ones are safe or even alive. Facebook allows people to mark themselves as "safe" after such disasters. For this reason, Facebook will always be a free platform meaning that anyone with a capable phone or computer can connect. People can also make donations through the platform to areas hit by disasters. Facebook also encourages people to join meaningful communities, 100 million people to be precise. These groups range from new parents to victims of rare diseases.
Remaining a free platform though, means there will have to be advertisements. There has been a lot of concern about whether or not Facebook sells your information, so let's break down what exactly advertisers can access from your profile. First, they can see any information from your use of Facebook, including any personal information you've put on your profile, Pages you like, posts you've clicked on, and articles you've liked. Advertisers then use this information to show you ads. Advertisers can also provide Facebook with information, like age or a list of emails, then Facebook finds profiles that match the data (Facebook won't tell the advertiser who matched) and show ads to those profiles. When you use other websites that are using Facebook tools, they can ask Facebook to share ads with people who have visited their websites. In the long run, Facebook is not selling your information. They sell advertising space, much like television and radio stations do, and allow the information you've chosen to share chose which ads reach you.
At this point, you're probably wondering how you, a real estate agent, can benefit from all of this Facebook-doing-good-advertisement-information overload. Well, you can use all the information that people have chosen to share with Facebook to your advantage. When setting up Facebook ads, we (The Social Agent) can decide who your audience is. We can tell Facebook to show your ads to people who live in a certain area, are a certain age, and have clicked on real estate blogs. These types of specifications will make sure your ads are being shown to people who might actually be interested in buying or selling their home. As for the good things Facebook is doing, it's important to remember that this platform has to remain free in order for everyone to benefit from it.