Facebook is trying to mitigate how ticked off people are going to be when Sponsored Stories ads start appearing in people’s news streams, with a subtle little ad of their own at the top of the page.
They’re anticipating the backlash & trying to gently implant the meme that “selling your private information is just the cost of using Facebook”.
It all sounds very reasonable. What exactly’s going to happen?
Your likes, posts, check-ins etc will become little ads for the brands you’re interacting with.
Facebook’s reality checking us in advance because they know people may react especially poorly to being featured in ads for businesses they don’t necessarily want to promote. And…
If people are angry the first thing they may do is unlike the brands that are using them. Besides removing the permission marketing channel created by likedom, this will no doubt create acrimony (or “a bad brand experience”) between people & the brands they formerly trusted.
But that’s Facebook’s problem. On to the evil idea.
Privacy Activists could jack sponsored stories
Here’s how I think it could work:
- Activist likes a brand & ‘publicly’ posts culture-jamming content on their wall or
- Activist @-mentions brand in a ‘public’ status update without liking
- Activist collective and/or friends of the activist ‘like’ the post a lot, to drive up its credibility
- The robots that select sponsored stories notice & repost as an ad
- A Skittles-level takeover of Sponsored Stories ensues.
Possible? It relies on mighty slack non-human CRM between Facebook & its customers, the advertisers—that is, nobody actually checking the content of the stories that algorithms think are relevant & popular. And it relies on non-anonymous collective action. But people have been in the mood to occupy lately, don’t you think?