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Every company has its secret sauce, and Facebook is no different. The social network utilizes a special sharing algorithm called “EdgeRank” which decides what your friends see whenever you interact with the pages of companies and brands. How does the algorithm work? The magic is a bit vague, but you’ve probably seen the evidence of its existence.
For instance, it’s the same reason why you see posts that say “Joshua Lockhart likes MakeUseOf’s photo” along with the actual image and its caption. It’s also why you see sponsored posts on your smartphone. Some speculate that this is even why your News Feed autonomously changes from Most Recent posts to Top Stories so often.
It’s not just a fluke, ladies and gentlemen. There’s a science to it.
With that said, the blame does not rest solely on your friends – a lot of it is on Facebook’s part, too. Just remember, though. When it comes to Facebook, you’re the product, and advertisers are the buyers. While social networking is a great tool, you should at least be aware of what your role entails.
How You Lead Your Friends To Brands
Your mother may share lots of images depicting misused memes originally posted by pages with titles like Just 4 Laffs! or Get A Free iPad : ) LOL. But here’s a question for you: did she really share it?
You see, Facebook – using EdgeRank, mind you – will occasionally publish items that your friends Like on your News Feed while they are completely unaware. Primitively speaking, it does this simply because it thinks you will Like whatever they Like, too.
There’s a bigger problem with this than imaginary free iToys, though. Your friends on Facebook are probably a colorful lot, and chances are that they all have a wide range of humor and vices. We all know that you likely browse Facebook at work, but what happens when a photo of a busty bikini bombshell appears on your feed just as the boss passes by your desk? By the power invested in Donald Trump’s hair, you will be fired.
Unfortunately, this means that even your Likes are being shared. It doesn’t even have to be posted by a product – your friends’ post can be published just as well. If you would prefer to not be a walking virtual billboard, there are few methods to save yourself from being ignored by your friends.
- Like Responsibly: Could the posts you tend to Like cause someone to get fired?
- Check Your Activity Log: You have the option to unlike every public item on here.
- Hide Pages You Like: This can possibly prevent items being unintentionally shared.
How Your Likes Promote Brands
In a similar manner, Facebook will shamelessly promote products using you and your friends as blind testimonials. These advertisements come in the form of Sponsored Posts, and you will often see them paired with a line that says something along the lines of “Joshua Lockhart likes MakeUseOf”.
These posts blatantly use your identity as a seed for the purpose of advertising, and by all appearances, it seems as if you are sharing them. This one is a bit easier to get around, though. You can go into your Facebook Ads Setting and turn off the ability to pair your name with ads.
If you visit this page, you’ll also notice an sign of what may be coming to Facebook advertising on the horizon. The settings feature a section titled “Third Party Sites”, and this may raise some alarms for you. Although the service does not currently do this, it does make note that it may eventually extend the right to use your picture and name for advertisements on third party sites in the future. It’s obvious that this would make use of Facebook in some way, but you can take preemptive measures and change your settings so that no one can see your information if this comes to pass.
Are You Being Ignored?
Take a look at the pages you Like. Heck, take a look at the pictures you Like. Are they classy and professional? On the other hand, are the sleazy and obnoxious? You be the judge.
Lets be real, though. You have every right to Like whatever you want on Facebook. Every product needs access to its demographic, and by clicking that Like button, you’re helping the EdgeRank system.
However, if you prefer use Facebook as a method of communication, then you may want to reconsider your actions. Call me a prude, but there have been countless times that I have ignored certain friends because of their posts. I’d rather an awkward misunderstanding not happen while I’m out and about.
With the new Graph Search, privacy is already hot topic on Facebook these days, but is there a victim in any of this? Does Facebook have the right to share your Liked items and use your name and image for advertising? I’m of the opinion that they have every right to. Similarly, I have every right to ignore whoever I want, effectively limiting an ad’s broadcast range.
It’s a free service, after all. Why should anyone complain? We’d like to know your answers to these questions, though. Let us know what you think in the comments.