Rather like politicians, the very last companies one should trust with one’s data are those who go to the most trouble to gather it:
When Facebook Inc. (FB) filed its proposal Feb. 1 to go public, it touted the effectiveness of ads linked to customers’ friends, citing research from Nielsen, the audience-counting company. Barbara Jacobs, an assistant director for corporation finance at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, was skeptical, as she and her staff vetted the filing to ensure Facebook had disclosed all material information to investors. The claim appeared to be drawn from marketing materials, not a Nielsen study, she wrote to Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman, 42.
She gave him an ultimatum: Produce the study and provide Nielsen’s consent for use of the data — or don’t use it, she wrote to Ebersman on Feb. 28. Facebook dropped the reference after initial resistance.