Come over to the Dark Side of Chat


I am addicted to social media. I am on Facebook every day. I have two Twitter accounts, a LinkedIn account and I simply adore Pinterest. I have also tried Instagram, Snapchat, Google+ and other social media platforms. I have been on social media for about 8 years. I have met some of the nicest people that I call my closest friends. These women have grieved over the death of my dad with me and rejoiced with me over the good times.

I not only go on Facebook to see what is going on in my family and friend’s lives, I “like”, comment, post pictures, and interact with 1,150 friends on a daily basis. At this point I must confess that I am a social gamer and have accumulated most of these friends by the games I play provided by social media.

By default I become a part of the private chat world which is somewhat hidden from advertisers. It is a great place to go chat with my friends about all aspects of the games I play and not bother any of the non-game players on my feed. I have multiple private chats and belong to multiple private group pages, which are not available to marketers. Since Facebook has opened up the feed to advertisers using cookies to target consumers and aggregated content captured from its users, I use chat almost exclusively without commercial interruptions. To be included in these chats you have to be invited. I use chat rooms to share links, websites, pictures, content, and have lots of fun conversations in my various chat rooms with people that enjoy my same interest.

According to a Pew Study, almost everyone uses the internet on a daily basis, of these users, more than 65% have a photo publicly posted online.

Private Chats are a sub-culture of social media and they make it difficult for marketers to track social traffic. This is considered Dark Social Traffic because whenever you move content from a secured site to private chat room the link becomes untraceable and referrer data is lost. The click gets classified as direct traffic. Social Media marketers cannot track direct traffic back to their online campaigns because private sharing activity is not visible in the analytics as social traffic but as direct traffic. Therefore the reporting will not show the complete performance of the social media campaign.

Private messaging has become a very popular feature on Facebook. These chat rooms reveal way more about a person than we currently know, because it is uncensored. Private chats tell Facebook how you use technology and what kinds of information you share. Even though marketers do not have access to these private chat rooms Facebook is actively working hard to data mine the content in these chat rooms via their messenger platform and Apps.

Here is Facebook policy on data they capture: We want our advertising to be as relevant and interesting as the other information you find on our Services. With this in mind, we use all of the information we have about you to show you relevant ads. We do not share information that personally identifies you (personally identifiable information is information like name or email address that can by itself be used to contact you or identifies who you are) with advertising, measurement or analytics partners unless you give us permission. We may provide these partners with information about the reach and effectiveness of their advertising without providing information that personally identifies you.

Nearly 90% of online users clear their browsers of cookies or delete old status updates, according to a Pew Survey. However, this does not stop Facebook from making every attempt to data mine these private chat rooms because of the profits to be made from selling aggregated data. Facebook is not viewing your conversations but they are pulling out information to share with marketers to help them better target their ads.

Over 7 billion people want the convenience of connecting with friends and family for free and each person is sharing some aspect of their lives. Most people are willing to give up at least a little bit of data or even privacy for this convenience.

Come explore the world of “Dark Chats”, so we can have a private chat while Facebook tries to peek inside.