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— by Hana LaRock

Facebook vs. Government: 4 Key Takeaways For Every Agent

In mid-April, CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, testified before Congress in regards to the Cambridge Analytical privacy scandal and its potential influence on the election. If you tuned into the hearing, you may have found yourself needing to turn off the TV after some point, as a lot of the questions and answers seemed to get repetitive.  

Overall, there are a lot of ways to interpret what happened and thereby question Facebook’s intentions. People could go back and forth discussing who was really in the wrong, and what to do based on the results of that conversation. But, after everything, the biggest concern is our data, how Facebook uses it, and what we should know about the popular social media platform. 

1) You Can Control What You Post 

Remember that old saying, “Be careful what you share on the Internet?” Well, that’s still very much true, if not more so today than ever before. Anytime you post anything on Facebook, whether it be a photo of a new listing, an article that you feel will be inspirational to your clients, or even your contact information, others are going to see it.  

You do have the option of customizing the post’s privacy and limited who can see it (maybe you have some friendly competition that you rather keep things from), but ultimately, once it’s online, it’s there forever. Even after customizing privacy settings, it’s not too difficult for a person who is tech-savvy to find something they’re looking for. The bottom line is, if you’re not comfortable with people seeing the post, then the answer is simple: Don’t post it. 

2) Your Data Can and Will Be Used “Against You”

Okay, not really. But it is used! Facebook collects data for a number of reasons, and whether that’s to convince people to vote for a certain presidential candidate or buy that gift you’ve been shopping for on Amazon, it’s nothing new. We see advertisements on our news feed that almost make us feel as though Facebook is listening into our conversations.  

Facebook, when given the appropriate permissions, can track your non-Facebook browsing history by using cookies or permissions from joint apps. This information will then be used to make your experience on Facebook more personal, with ads directed at your interests. Many people are not comfortable with this, but it’s easy to change these settings so that this doesn’t continue to happen. 

In the grand scheme of things, this is another one of the issues that leaves the ball in the user’s court. After all, Facebook does not charge to use it’s platform, so they need to make money in other ways and that’s typically done through ads. It’s very unlikely that Facebook will ever use your information to do anything malicious.  

If you see an ad that you don’t like, just keep scrolling. You can choose what to click on, what to like, what to watch, and most importantly, what to believe. But, one good side of this is it could help lead clients to your business. Those ads are for you to use, too. 

3) Not Everything Online is Truthful 

Real estate agents who want to grow their business likely utilize social media platforms like Facebook in order to do so. Sometimes, various marketing tactics are used to attract people to a product or service, and those tactics may not always be the most honest. Additionally, you may see articles or information in your feed regarding topics that seem to be controversial, or even posts that seem too ridiculous to be true. 

What you choose to do to bring in leads is your choice, but keep in mind that people can be manipulated very easily on Facebook.  

Is that your concern?  

No, not really.  

But, as a broker or any business leader, people want a brand they can trust, and it is your responsibility to support that the best way you can, and not use Facebook as a tool to unethically appeal to others. 

4) Facebook Is Still #1 in the Industry 

If you listened to the testimony, then you’ll know that Zuckerberg was asked by Senator Lindsey Graham, “You don’t think you have a monopoly?” No matter what your opinion is on the issue and whether or not companies like Google and Amazon can actually be considered competitors of Facebook, the fact is that Facebook still is #1 in social media.  

At the end of 2017, there were 2.2 billion active users. Therefore, when it comes to advertising your real estate business or finding leads online, it’s clear where it needs to be done. The attention is still very much on Facebook, and smart agents need to remember this. At the end of the day, you may not like what’s going on lately with the platform, but if you want to stay on top, you’ll have to find a way to not let that bother you. 

What’s your opinion about the Facebook scandal and how do you think it will impact real estate agents in the future? Let us know! 

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