Okay, so within hours of me posting a blog entry that is actually complimentary to Facebook, Kashmir Hill reminds me why I will never have a Facebook account:
Facebook users will be the stars of the social network’s latest advertising product. The site will soon launch “Sponsored Stories.” Companies will be able to pay for users’ endorsements to show up as ads on the site. If you’ve used Facebook to check into a particular store or if you’ve “liked” the page of a particular coffee shop (Starbucks gets lots of shout-outs in the video and promotional material describing the service), that company can pay to have your interaction with their brand show up on your friends’ pages.
Read more on Forbes. Kashmir doesn’t see this as a big privacy issue but notes that users may be upset at not being compensated for the use of their image for advertising.
But what if a user just checks into a store and posts something on their page like, “At Macy’s now.” without saying whether they liked it or not? Could the store still use their image for advertising? Or what if they post, “At Macy’s now and they have a great selection of pots and pans!” but 10 minutes later, post “Yikes – Macy’s is so over-priced compared to BBB!” Could advertisers just use or continue to use only the first post? I think we need more clarification on how this will work before concluding that there is no real concern other than lack of compensation.
As always, I think these things need to be opt-in. In this case, not only is it not opt-in, there’s seemingly no opt-out.
Bad, Facebook. Bad, bad.