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Facebook Advertising Woopsie

facebook_logoI must admit, I have a Facebook account.  I also must admit that I don’t do much with it.  I log into it from time to time to see what my friends are up to, but I just don’t “get it”.  All the games and quizzes and lists…it just feels like a time killer.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy relaxing and surfing the Internet, it’s just that Facebook feels strange.  Of course, writing a blog seems strange to me, too, but here I am.  And Twitter…well, I haven’t braved those waters yet.  And I really don’t see a benefit there, but that’s a whole other story.

The privacy implications with Facebook have always irked me.  People put their entire life history on display, from school to professional to personal life.  It’s staggering how much information some people put in their profiles, and it’s all at Facebook’s disposal.  As a free service, you expect it to be ad driven…they’re not exactly an altruistic company.  As Google has taught us, targeted advertising is effective advertising.  However, using members’ information and photos in targeted advertising is going too far.

As an example of targeted advertising gone awry, check out this article: http://redtape.msnbc.com/2009/07/hey-peter-the-ad-said-hot-singles-are-waiting-for-you-he-might-have-dismissed-the-advertisement-which-appeared-on-his-fa.html

If I had seen that ad with a friend’s photo (married or not), my ears would certainly perk up.  And if I saw my wife’s photo, well that would certainly prompt a few questions!  According to Facebook, a third-party application is the root cause, but it sure seems fishy to me.

There is a security setting to (supposedly) prevent your photo from appearing in these “third-party application” ads, just go to: Settings -> Privacy Settings -> News Feed and Wall -> Facebook Ads.  After closing the propaganda-esque warning box, you’ll see the option regarding ads on platform pages showing your information.  Just choose “No One” in the drop down list, unless you want your likeness used to endorse products without your knowledge or approval.  Be sure to scroll to the bottom and choose No one for the social action ads as well.

Now I could swear that I modified this setting a week or so ago, thanks to a friend’s request, but when I returned this morning it was back to “Only my friends.”  A bit strange to say the least.  Maybe I’m just a private person, but if I’m going to be promoting a product or service, I would like to know about it.

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