I know I am not alone in finding it annoying when a person or organization uses my information for their own commercial interests without first seeking my permission.
Take Facebook for example.
Last year it announced a new advertising program called “Sponsored Stories” which basically worked by telling your friends what you were up to but with a twist – the news came in the form of an advertisement.
Social media blogger Sean Nicholson uses this example:
“If I posted ‘Grabbing my third cup of coffee from Starbucks today. Watch out co-workers!’ as a Facebook status update, then Facebook could re-purpose that post and and add this advertisement to any of my friends’ news feeds:”
The problem I have with this – and the problem many other Facebook users had with this – is that there was no way to opt out.
Either you kept your Facebook account open and accepted that Facebook may use your status updates to make adverts for your friends to view or you deleted your Facebook account.
Now a group of disgruntled Facebook users have got together and argued in court that the policy was in breach of Californian law because Facebook was “using private information for monetary gain without compensating them or giving them a way to opt-out of the program. ”
A judge is currently reviewing a proposed settlement in the matter which, according to the Reuters news agency, offers $10 Million in damages and an agreement to provide an opt-out option for the program.
Personally I have no problem with the feature as long as I can either:
- share in the revenue generated by using my status updates as adverts or
- have the choice of opting out of the program.
What do you think about this form of advertising?
Patrick has spent more than 20 years as a national newspaper journalist covering everything from hard news to showbiz and sport. As editor-at-large of YourGadgetGuide, Patrick likes to focus on how technology can be used to transform and improve our lifestyles.