As usual, when Facebook changes its privacy policies, the proposed edits haven’t made users or privacy advocates very happy. Even members of Congress were apparently angry about them, because the changes seem to violate a settlement the social media site made in 2011 regarding the Sponsored Stories concept. The case involved the site placing advertisements in your News Feed, telling you what businesses your friends have checked in at or “liked.”
Facebook continues to insist that it’s not actually changing anything, just making previous policies more clear. The fact is, the less private user profiles are, the more money Facebook stands to make in ad dollars by allowing advertisers to target users and their friends based on their interests.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has also picked up on the potential involved with such word-of-mouth advertising. The Internet search giant has introduced a “Shared Endorsements” feature that allows it to use your Google Plus profile photo and quotes from reviews of businesses you’ve written on any of Google’s properties in ads for those businesses targeted toward people you know on Google Plus.
The key difference between Shared Endorsements and Sponsored Stories? Google allows you to opt out fairly easily by clicking a single box. As for Facebook, don’t get your hopes up about being able to opt out of ads any time soon.
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