Facebook sponsored stories have — on a network nearly known first and foremost for a cavalier attitude toward user privacy and data treatment — struck a bit of a nerve.
Anecdotally, Facebook sponsored stories have prompted quite a bit of Facebook quitter talk in my News Feed, with many saying that the constant barrage of suggestions from the social network are distracting enough to make it all not seem very worthwhile.
But Facebook sponsored stories are seemingly here to stay. And each time we log in, it appears, Facebook is eager to let us know which brands of laundry detergent and beef jerky our friends have liked, and implicitly, that our friends endorse.
If you’ve considered quitting over Facebook sponsored stories, you’re not alone — and one former Facebook evangelist explained over on CNN why the social network’s relentless promotion of the updates has driven him from the site.
In a recent Facebook sponsored stories rant on CNN, “media theorist” Douglas Rushkoff explains why the single shady practice (one, and we say this with love for Facebook, of many less than desirable quirks of the social network) inspired him to call time on Facebooking for good. Rushkoff says:
“Through a new variation of the Sponsored Stories feature called Related Posts, users who ‘like’ something can be unwittingly associated with pretty much anything an advertiser pays for. Like e-mail spam with a spoofed identity, the Related Post shows up in a newsfeed right under the user’s name and picture. If you like me, you can be shown implicitly recommending me or something I like — something you’ve never heard of — to others without your consent.”
“For now, as long as I don’t like anything myself, I have some measure of control over what those who follow me receive in my name or, worse, are made to appear to be endorsing, themselves. But I feel that control slipping away, and cannot remain part of a system where liking me or my work can be used against you.”
As of now, the full impact of Facebook sponsored stories and how much of an effect it has on your public perception remains to be seen — have you found the practice a step too far for the social network in making ad dollars?