Facebook Is A Sleeping Giant In Search; Advocacy Group Challenges FTC Settlement

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Not Quite Settled 

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a prominent public research interest group, filed a complaint against the FTC’s $5 billion settlement with Facebook, arguing the deal is an unjustified victory for Facebook that fails to protect consumer privacy. The group is especially concerned with a provision that gives Facebook immunity from answering at least 26,000 pending customer complaints related to its violation of the 2011 consent decree over which it was fined, The New York Times reports. EPIC is requesting a hearing to judge the fairness of the settlement. The case raises questions about the FTC’s fitness to protect consumer privacy. “The proposed order wipes Facebook’s slate clean without Facebook even having to admit guilt for its privacy violations,” the complaint says. More.

Hired Muscle

Warehouse workers are in high demand as retailers and shipping companies expand their supply-chain operations to seize ecommerce growth. And recruiters for those jobs are going to great lengths to find and poach qualified employees, The Wall Street Journal reports. Some logistics companies geofence competitors’ facilities to target people who park there during the day. “If somebody is going to sit in their car for 30 minutes before their shift … and watch YouTube, I want them to watch our ads in the preroll,” said Melissa Phillips, senior director of digital operations for the staffing company EmployBridge. Even geotargeting people who live within a 20-50 mile radius of a warehouse is more cost-effective than traditional recruitment channels like radio and local TV. “During some of these targeted campaigns for particular warehouses, we’ve had people walk across the street from one of our competitors to apply for a job on their lunch break,” said Randy Tucker, Americas CEO for the French supply-chain operator Geodis SA. More.

Social Search

People don’t think of Facebook as a search engine, but it likely handles more queries than any search player but Google and, perhaps, Amazon. And the social ad platform may be ramping up its search ad capabilities. Some Facebook advertiser accounts now have an option to “Reach people with relevant ads based on their search terms” on Facebook. Susan Wenograd, VP of marketing strategy for the performance agency Aimclear, spotted the update in the wild. Facebook searches don’t have the kind of rich intent that Amazon and Google capitalize on (like “looking for a hotel in Miami” or “blue button-down shirt”). But Facebook search placements could be useful to target Facebook users who are searching for specific groups or pages to join. It could also be a good conquesting tool, for brands or apps to target searches for direct competitors. 

But Wait, There’s More

You’re Hired

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