Facebook’s Sponsored Stories are S*#&

Sponsored Stories - The Anti-Social MediaFacebook ads are like serial pedophiles. Just when you think you’ve heard all the horrible stories about how they perverted and abused the people you care about, you find out even more disgusting details.

Earlier this week, Facebook announced a new type of ad they are calling “Sponsored Stories“. Basically, brands will be able to take your content that mentions the brand and pay Facebook to feature it more prominently. So, if you checked into Wal-mart, Wal-mart could then feature your check-in to your friends in hopes of getting more likes or whatever. That’s the most basic way they do it, though there are other ways with apps, statuses, and all the other banal crap we share on Facebook.

Naturally, all the normal rigamarole about privacy setting applies, so these stories should only be seen by your friends who have the proper access. But Facebook is a greasy, used-car salesman, especially when it comes to advertising, so who knows what your embarrassing profile picture will be selling.

“Why yes, my cat does recommend you like Victoria’s Secret!”

Facebook wants these to come across as authentic word of mouth. There is nothing authentic about content that is promoted, whether that content was created by a user or by a copywriter. If it wasn’t for Facebook’s terms of use that steal the rights to anything you post on Facebook, you would have to be paid for someone else using your content.

I can’t wait until sponsored stories hit the mainstream and the really weird and awkward ones start emerging. It’s only a matter of time until it happens. Facebook users defile everything they touch.

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31 Responses to “Facebook’s Sponsored Stories are S*#&”

  1. John Morrow January 27, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    Well, from now on all my status updates will feature prominent endorsements of butt plugs and weed.

    • Danny Brown January 27, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

      I’d pay for these ads! ;-)

      • Jay January 27, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

        Me too!

    • Claire Wagner January 27, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

      John, I nearly fell over laughing. I just shared this on my Facebook page and I really hope everybody reads your comment.

      Wait, I’m still laughing really hard.

      Laughing again.

      OK, I think I’m sufficiently calmed down enough to hit Submit.

    • Jay January 27, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

      I want to see these updates.

      • Claire Wagner January 27, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

        My sister in law did say that she once got an ad featuring her cat but complained and nothing has happened since.

        • Jay January 28, 2011 at 12:09 am #

          I want my cat in more ads. I’m willing to sacrifice her privacy for my convenience.

  2. Brad January 27, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    I think it’s a bold statement to say that there’s no authenticity to promoted content… Especially with content that’s being promoted without your knowledge or consent (beyond the EULA/Privacy Policy).

    I’d argue that for most cases, it’s going to be the most authentic genuine content that you can find, if only because the verbiage and sentiment aren’t being written by a copy writer or some such.

    I admit that it’s certainly biased, and I admit that it’s certainly not going to tell the whole story, but doing an ad campaign which says: “Here are the positive things users think about xyz brand *without* being compensated….” actually seems surprisingly more authentic and genuine than a commercial where the ‘actors’ are compensated for their testimony.

    That said, with things like AdBlock, I forget that there are ads on the internet sometimes. If I could block all the ‘check-ins’ on 4square [omg! I'm the mayor of the place I work at, even though that violates the ToS!] and gowalla and whatever the hell else people are using, I’d be even happier.

    • Jay January 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

      I just want to block all the content on the internet.

  3. Dino Dogan January 27, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    So is Facebook a serial pedophile or a greasy, used-car salesman? Im confused :-p

    Also, thats one sexy cat :-)

    yeah..FB sucks, cant wait for it to go the way of myspace and friendster.

    • Jay January 27, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

      Yeah, maybe Facebook will go away when someone invents something that makes money but isn’t evil.

  4. Danny Brown January 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    I saw this last week and wondered where Facebook would go with it. While I can see what they’re trying to do, yet again the actual implementation part is crap.

    Maybe I’ll just close down my account… ;-)

    • Jay January 27, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

      I wish I could do that. Too bad I get paid money to be on Facebook all day. Life in the 21st century is SO. DIFFICULT.

  5. Maureen Argon January 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    I really LIKE your blog. And love that even though you really UNLIKE Facebook you have button enable people to share this blog on Facebook and have a Facebook page too! But I noticed you have less than 250 LIKERS. :p

    • Jay January 27, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

      I’m ok with not having a lot of likers. I just keep that there so people can get updates from Facebook if that’s how they prefer to stay in touch.

      Also, it’s where I post my really snarky stuff that’s too long for Twitter.

  6. Kristen January 27, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    @Danny, you might close down your account. Probably not though as you have 3339 “friends” currently.

    That’s the problem. A lot of us are quickly becoming dependent on social media - particularly FB and Twitter - for communication between friends, colleagues and potential clients.

    Hell, even Anti-Social Media has a FB page.

    Not that we shouldn’t all be aware and concerned about our security preferences and settings. We should all be diligent with what we post to these sites with the understanding that it WILL be used, saved and seen.

    Perhaps while we’re all up in arms about our “privacy” being violated we should all take a crash course in what “social media” actually means and use it accordingly.

    Just saying. I removed my FB page for several months and ended up back on it because I realized it was the only way I communicated with certain individuals anymore. Sad? Maybe, but true.

    It’ll be interesting to see where this leads.

    • Jay January 27, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

      Yeah, I have a Facebook page. I try to keep it about having a fun moment rather than keeping people on the site forever.

      I just hope these turn out to be another beacon.

  7. Morgan January 27, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    It’s not ideal, but I guess we can just ignore them. :)

    For me, it’s pretty easy to ignore the ads. I focus on what I gotta do in FB and that’s about it.

    I see what you’re saying, though. It’s not authentic, but at least they haven’t gotten to the point where you automatically like what your friends like just because they checked in. That…will piss me off.

    • Jay January 27, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

      I’d be more apt to ignore it if it never happened in the first place.

      Ads like these are why I hate Facebook’s first term of use that they can reuse anything I post on there however they like.

      • Claire Wagner January 27, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

        It is a sort of bondage. Kontent Macht Frei.

        • Jay January 28, 2011 at 12:13 am #

          I can’t stop laughing at this, though the former German student in me wants to correct the grammar.

          This is why I love my readers. What other blog about social media has references to sex toys, illegal substances, and concentration camps in the comments and all of them are on topic and not flaming anyone?

          • Claire Wagner January 28, 2011 at 10:50 am #

            My German is 30 years old, but I did visit Buchenwald in 2009 so I should know better…but you do have some interesting, funny, and engaged readers. I rarely spend any time in the comment box of a blog and yet I have monitored these and come back several times.

  8. Brankica January 27, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

    Jay, this is really annoying. I mean the way Facebook is changing stuff around every day.
    I love FB cause it really helped me when I was away from home, on another continent for more than a year. It was just easier to update all my friends, especially those that know how to use FB but can’t use main (go figure…)…

    But FB is really getting a bit over the top… :(

    • Jay January 28, 2011 at 12:10 am #

      I think they just want to slowly push the last ones of us who are sane and value our image over the edge.

  9. Murlu January 29, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    hahaha what a twisted idea

    I hope Starbucks promotes my wall post about how I ran into a really pretentious barista that gave me shit about ordering a “large black coffee” - what? you want a “large” coffee - oh excuse me as I berate you - yeah, I guess all that social media bullshit they pull isn’t work out to well for them - it’s not working here.

  10. Chelsea Junget January 31, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    Content that’s promoted is not authentic makes a lot of sense. But does it mean it won’t work?

    • Jay January 31, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

      We’ll find out soon enough.

  11. Dirty Murph February 2, 2011 at 12:06 am #

    Sponsored Stories?
    This makes me want to create a FB account, since I deleted my old one. My stories would wreak of product placement and name dropping. All my E-Friends will know I’m ‘sponsored’ and kewl…

    • Jay February 2, 2011 at 8:09 am #

      Too bad the benefits of the money are Facebook, not users.


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