Mark Zuckerberg recently announced 'life saving' new Facebook functionality. This turned out to be the ability for Facebook users to register to become an organ donor and share this as a profile update on their page. Furthermore, Facebook hopes users will share their donation experiences.
The aim, Facebook claim, is to turn organ donation into an accepted social norm.
The addition of this functionality had its success. In forty-eight hours, more than 100,000 people indicated their wish to be a donor when they die. As a result, in the US online donor registries went up 23-fold. It's hard to argue that increasing organ donors would have any negatives or down-sides, yet it does highlight further extremes of data we are handing freely over to Facebook.
When we signup to Facebook we know that we grant them “a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post.” Organ donation is simply passing on even more extreme and private information to the data monster that is Facebook. Let's not forget they can sell this data to whoever they like.
The ever-increasing likelihood is that brands can understand and more importantly predict our consumer behaviour better than we can. Contagious recently highlighted the danger of such knowledge with a witty story around the US store 'Target', figuring out that a teen customer was pregnant before her father.
Contagious highlighted some interesting statistics on data sharing. A Future Poll study conducted in March 2012 found
- 82% of people in the UK were concerned about the way their personal information was used online
- however 84% of people would share their personal information with brands in exchange for a tailored service
- 34% of people would be willing to share details about their health with brands in exchange for better service, a figure that increases to 49% once cash or rewards are offered
So in summary, yes, it's great news, particularly in the US that Facebook are championing organ donation. There will never be enough organs to supply all those that are in need. However, do you really want Facebook to hold this kind of data on you? Let us know your thoughts.