A report that Facebook launched a controversial new social ad campaign last week has been making the rounds on the web, but Facebook says users should not believe what is a false rumor.
Several outlets wrote that Facebook had instituted a new type of targeted advertising in which if a user "liked" a fan page or RSVPed to an event, her name and profile picture would be displayed in ads shown to her Facebook friends.
A Facebook spokesperson described the report as a "meme" that spread virally on the social network, but which is "really incorrect." She noted that Facebook launched Social Ads in 2007 and said there had been no tweaks or changes made to the service last week.
"Social ads still work the way they always did," she said.
As has been the case, if a user "likes" a brand's Facebook page or "likes" an advertisement, other users may see the brand's name and logo together with the user's name--but no photo--below it. It is also possible for users' profile pictures to be shown to their friends on the Facebook pages they have "liked" (See screenshots below)
Facebook has been tweaking its advertisement options, however.
The social network recently launched Sponsored Stories, a new ad format that turns some of users' activities into advertisements. Facebook says of Sponsored Stories in a FAQ posted on the site, "Sponsored Stories are stories that your friends published into your News Feed. These show up on the right hand side of pages on Facebook. The types of stories that can be surfaced include: Page Likes, App interactions, Place check-ins and Page posts."
The site also confirmed that it is now testing a new ad system that will mine users' wall posts and status updates to present ads that are more targeted to users' interests and more quickly displayed. Find out more here.
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