Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A world where you never dine alone

At the conference on Tuesday, Marc Andreessen, a Facebook board member and early investor who was seated at Ms. Sandberg’s side, offered a vision of other ways that Facebook might leverage the information it has about its users.

If he is walking past a restaurant where his Facebook friend — say Mr. Rose, the television journalist — was having lunch alone, he could be notified on his cellphone, along with a discount offer for lunch. Mr. Andreessen described this as a win for all parties concerned: a lunch date for Mr. Rose, a discount for himself and a new customer for the restaurant.

Mr. Rose asked whether using that data could make Facebook users feel uncomfortable. Ms. Sandberg said new technology always elicited new anxieties, but that Facebook would have to reassure its users.

“Trust is the cornerstone of our business,” she said.