Any corporation running a venue that prompts you to “like” something is looking to violate your privacy, probably in order to make money but possibly for more sinister reasons. Only the truly naive will be shocked by Facebook’s latest transgression:
Facebook users could become unwitting corporate ambassadors under plans by the company to allow the site’s main news feed to carry sponsorship messages carrying their mugshots.
Beginning in the New Year, so-called ‘sponsored stories’ appear in the main news feed that Facebook users’ friends see. At present, if you click to ‘like’ a product, it does not always appear in the main feed. The new update will show friends your profile picture and the product you have ‘endorsed’ in much larger form in the main news feed – a move that the site admits is designed to bring in advertising revenue.
Facebook say the scheme is a vital revenue booster, which will help it claw back some of the $1 billion a year it spends on developing the site. The site claims that because the stories are labelled ‘Sponsored’, they will be less intrusive.
If a user decides to ‘like’ a product, the endorsement will also remain on their new, open ‘timeline’ profile, enabling companies to pay Facebook to feature their adverts more visibly.
But the announcement will infuriate users who feel that the social network is taking too much ownership over its 800 million members’ personal information.
Facebook users in the U.S. have now launched a legal action against the company to contest the commercial use of the ‘Like’ button.
Footnote: I “like” the phrase “claw back some of the $1 billion a year it spends on developing the site.” Poor Facebook! Poor little Zuckerberg!