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Facebook Is Hitting On Your Mom

By Rick Munarriz – May 8, 2013 at 8:00PM

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Facebook Gifts takes a Mother's Day turn this week.

I don't mean to start something, but Facebook (META -1.16%) has a thing for moms.

"Surprise Mom with a Gift," begins a promotional spot that's been appearing on top my news feed since last night. "Let Mom choose her own gift with a Target (TGT -3.22%) gift card."

In case I have somehow forgotten, Facebook is reminding me that Mother's Day is this weekend. My mother's profile picture appears in the newsfeed. Surely she isn't appearing in yours.

Facebook has used relationship data to push its Facebook Gifts platform before. It paired up couples in February to offer romantic gift ideas for as little as a buck heading into Valentine's Day. Now it's mom's turn. Guess who will follow next month?

The gifts this time aren't heart-shaped cookies or champagne gummy bears. Beyond the default Target gift card promoted in the actual ad copy, other items that can be shipped out include "I'm the Cool Grandma" mugs, restaurant gift certificates, and "Keep Calm and Call Mom" fridge magnets.

Maybe loading up the store with hokey gifts is Target's master plan to get folks to opt for a gift card to the cheap chic discount department store chain.

It's still a smart move on Facebook's behalf, but why end there?

Facebook knows the favorite musical artists, books, and movies of Facebook moms. They openly volunteer that information when they flesh out their profile. Why isn't Facebook using that to suggest related music, reads, or flicks that may be more successful than a cheesy "Best. Mom. Ever." mug?

Why collect data if you're not going to use it, Facebook? There's money being left on the table if Facebook Gifts isn't milking anything it can out of its social connections. would kill to have relationship data, and surely if the leading online retailer knew your mother, father, or significant other, it wouldn't be shy about going through their past purchases to offer up relevant recommendations. Facebook can do this without seeming creepy.

You're already making users feel guilty by putting mom snapshots in a news feed. There's no turning back now.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of and Facebook. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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