Facebook’s New Way Of Using You As Free Advertising (& How To Stop It) [News]

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Unwitting Facebook users may soon find themselves starring in adverts for free by simply using the service. The new feature known as ‘sponsored stories’ will recommend products and services to your friends based on your tastes and whether your profile settings allow it.

Actions such as checking into places, clicking “Like” on a page, application interactions and posting on Facebook pages can be then used as marketing ammo, sending targeted recommendations to your friends featuring your name and profile picture. Users who are featured in the adverts won’t be paid a penny.

This new way for advertisers to target their audience on a startlingly personal level quietly launched in January, and (in a move that’s angered many) each Facebook user’s account, by default, allows this to happen. Despite many voicing their concerns, Facebook insists that this new breed of social advertising falls in line with its current privacy policy.

For those of you seething in your office chairs, there’s a simple way to disallow Facebook from using your personal data in these new ‘sponsored stories’ from your Account Settings:

Whilst logged into Facebook, click Account then Account Settings. On the far right of the row of tabs choose Facebook Adverts, which will take you to a page where you can change Allow adverts on platform pages to show my information to and Show my social actions in Facebook Adverts to No one.

What do you think about Facebook’s new adverts? Have you changed your account settings? Spread the word and have your say in the comments below.

Comments (24)
  • Anonymous

    It seems to me that FB is making more and more decisions which let others, namely corporations and businesses, to use your information to sell things. Whether it’s directly to you or to other people doesn’t matter. We live in a consumerist culture and we need to make sure that it doesn’t get any worse with more hacking of people’s privacy.

  • Norbert

    I love Facebook. In fact, but for Facebook I’d have lost contact with many acquaintances over the years, so I think the site is doing a genuine social service. But policies like this make me reconsider. Just now I have changed all my settings to the most restrictive possible.
    A lot of people today, and certainly Facebook’s ownership, fail to understand the difference between terms like “legal,” and “right”/”ethical”/”moral” when making monumental decisions like this. OK …. FB insists it doesn’t violate their privacy policy. But FB seems to admit implicitly that some people aren’t going to like it, so they conveniently fail to tell users that they may be starring in advertisements. Hey, Facebook – YOU SHOULD NOT NEED TO BE TOLD THAT THIS IS SNEAKY AND MAYBE WRONG, REGARDLESS OF ITS LEGALITY!!
    Is this really so hard to understand? I’ll spell it out in black and white: legal does not equal moral. To make myself absolutely clear what I mean, for “moral” one could substitute “ethical” or “right” or whatever such word makes the most sense. The point is that there is a sense of right and wrong that is not formally contained in any civil or religious or philosophical code, which is generally taken for granted. In fact, it is the kind of thing that is never really consciously considered until it is violated.
    In other words, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Facebook people who instituted this little policy knew darn good and well that they would upset some people’s sense of privacy. Then they examined their policy at length and decided that it wasn’t specifically illegal. How could it be – this is a very new thing? Of course it was not yet covered in a policy!
    Shame on you, Facebook. I’m still considering taking my account off – based solely on this latest little intrusion.

  • Norbert

    I love Facebook. In fact, but for Facebook I’d have lost contact with many acquaintances over the years, so I think the site is doing a genuine social service. But policies like this make me reconsider. Just now I have changed all my settings to the most restrictive possible.
    A lot of people today, and certainly Facebook’s ownership, fail to understand the difference between terms like “legal,” and “right”/”ethical”/”moral” when making monumental decisions like this. OK …. FB insists it doesn’t violate their privacy policy. But FB seems to admit implicitly that some people aren’t going to like it, so they conveniently fail to tell users that they may be starring in advertisements. Hey, Facebook – YOU SHOULD NOT NEED TO BE TOLD THAT THIS IS SNEAKY AND MAYBE WRONG, REGARDLESS OF ITS LEGALITY!!
    Is this really so hard to understand? I’ll spell it out in black and white: legal does not equal moral. To make myself absolutely clear what I mean, for “moral” one could substitute “ethical” or “right” or whatever such word makes the most sense. The point is that there is a sense of right and wrong that is not formally contained in any civil or religious or philosophical code, which is generally taken for granted. In fact, it is the kind of thing that is never really consciously considered until it is violated.
    In other words, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Facebook people who instituted this little policy knew darn good and well that they would upset some people’s sense of privacy. Then they examined their policy at length and decided that it wasn’t specifically illegal. How could it be – this is a very new thing? Of course it was not yet covered in a policy!
    Shame on you, Facebook. I’m still considering taking my account off – based solely on this latest little intrusion.

  • Alex

    thank you makeuseof for keeping us updated about all the stupid stuff facebook thinks can do with our accounts. kudos!

  • Rvdkoi

    I’m very glad you brought this gross breach of privacy by Facebook to my attention. Sneaky bastards.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.