Reason #206 NOT to use Facebook

June 30, 2012

Did you know that Facebook creates advertising based on anything you may have “liked” or simply shared on your page, even if it isn’t anything you might approve of. An example from a recent New York Times article:

“On Valentine’s Day, Nick Bergus came across a link to an odd product on Amazon.com: a 55-gallon barrel of … personal lubricant. He found it irresistibly funny and, as one does in this age of instant sharing, he posted the link on Facebook, adding a comment: “For Valentine’s Day. And every day. For the rest of your life.” Within days, friends of Mr. Bergus started seeing his post among the ads on Facebook pages, with his name and smiling mug shot. Facebook … had seen his post as an endorsement and transformed it into an advertisement, paid for by Amazon.”

And they don’t need to ask your permission because, apparently, you have already given it simply by joining the evil Facebook.

These “ads” are called sponsored stories and, as the NYT reports

“Facebook recently began to show sponsored stories in the site’s main news feed.  ‘Because sponsored stories are just stories from the news feed, you cannot opt out of them,’ Facebook explains.”

Eric Goldman from Santa Monica University says “Sponsored Stories creates a zero-sum game.  I as a user probably don’t get any value from the public presentation of my implicit endorsement (if anything, it might hurt my position with my friends), but Facebook and its advertisers benefit from it.”

In a recent class action suit in California (which Facebook is settling out of court) lawyers argued that “the company had been unfair and deceptive in deploying users’ names and pictures in advertising without consent. In its defense, Facebook took a press-freedom approach, saying it did not need consent because sponsored stories were actually “news,” because all Facebook users were public figures to their friends.”

What bullshit is that?

Previous reasons NOT to use Facebook

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