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Craig Agranoff

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Will Facebook Make You Famous?

Posted: 12/23/2013 3:57 pm

The social media platform's privacy changes are making us unwitting product endorsers.

Let's pretend there is a potentially highly embarrassing product that has dramatically improved your quality of life.

Maybe it's back hair removal foam or anti-snoring nasal corks or a balding reversal pill that can only be administered rectally -- 25 times a day.

The product doesn't matter, but the scenario does: one day when trolling around on Facebook, you see the product featured in your feed. You can't help yourself but to "Like" the product. After all, it brings you to tears of joy daily and you've written five anonymous letters to Oprah espousing its life-altering effects.

Minutes pass...

You get a Facebook message from a friend. Two texts from family members. An email from your nosy boss. They all ask the same thing: why are you promoting "that" with your name and picture.

Oh &$%#!

The Facebook advertising shift Fueled by an expanding product line and an intuitive back-end platform that allowed clients to traverse the target-big-and-acquire learning curve faster than Google or Bing, Facebook crossed the one-million advertiser threshold over the summer.

It was blood in the Perrier for Zuckerberg and the skinny-jeaned Menlo Park brain trust. In September, Facebook reversed its long-standing privacy policy, giving the social networking platform the ability to make you the unwitting star of digital ads you interact with in the feeds of your connections. The new policy reads: "You give us permission to use your name and profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like)..."

Of course, unless you read the privacy policy -- or happen to see one of your duped connections featured in similar brand promotion in your feed -- you have no idea that this will happen. There are no disclaimers or warning that your single click could stick your mug on a bevy of digital billboards.

A way out?

You can block some of Facebook's targeted ads from making you an unwilling spokesperson. Simply visit your Privacy Settings, find the "Ads" tab and make the appropriate changes to set your desired level of privacy.

But that doesn't apply to the guiltiest party of these ads: Sponsored Stories, which leverage your affiliation with apps, events and pages to attract engagement from your connections -- and vice versa.

Where do you stand on Facebook's new privacy policy? Are you going to delete your profile right after reading this? Do you demand a more visible disclaimer? Do you think you should land a few bucks in your pocket every time your likeness drives a digital transaction?

Or are you just going to complain about it ...over Facebook?

 

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