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The Belgian police are warning people not to use Facebook reactions

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Stop liking stuff on Facebook. Stop it right this bloody minute

Someone in the Belgian police force has realised what the internet is, causing their knee to jerk so violently into their desk that their keyboard spewed out an article warning us that Facebook might be harvesting information on your life in order to sell advertising more effectively.

Back in February, Facebook overhauled its 'Like' system, introducing six Reactions - giving users a greater scope of emotions to convey in response to posts. "Finally," said the internet, "we have a more accurate way to denote our empathy than just 'liking' stuff." 

"BUT WAIT," comes the cry of the Belgian bobby. In a recent post to their official police website, they outline how these new reactions help Facebook "assess the effectiveness of the ads on your profile".

"By limiting the number of icons to six, Facebook is counting on you to express your thoughts more easily so that the algorithms that run in the background are more effective. By mouse clicks [you can let them know] what makes you happy. So this will help Facebook [find the] ideal location on your profile and also to determine the time to view content that can arouse your interest."

Which is weird. It sounds like the Belgian police would rather Facebook operate in a manner where all of its advertising is fired ineffectively, with no strategy, across Facebook users' feeds - blindly hoping that someone might stumble across a piece of advertising content that matches up with their interests. Or that Facebook only operate as a social website that doesn't operate based on insights gained from the publicly visible habits of its user base. They're going to go mental when they work out what web cookies do...

The crux of the issue for the Belgian police is one of privacy, with the bizarre article concluding that as Facebook is able to sell advertising slots based on your 'emotional' reactions, it's "One more reason therefore to not rush to click if you want to protect your privacy".

What does the Belgian police use Facebook for? Just lurking about, looking at the holiday pictures of the Belgian ambulance service - but not clicking 'Wow' just in case someone tries to sell them a full board tour of the Med?

Chill out guys. Facebook is a big, terrifying company - but Reactions aren't the real criminals. 

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