I’m surprised at the anger exhibited online against Facebook’s new Sponsored Stories. Most of this anger was directed at Facebook for invading our privacy by using our heartfelt status messages to sell their sponsors’ tawdry products. Sheesh.
David Berkowitz defined the two extremes of the responders to the new ads. On one end, let’s call him the extrovert, would be someone who is open to Facebook advertisers using any of their updates in ads. On the other end, the introvert would be someone who would NOT want any of his brand mentions to be adopted by advertisers even if the audience are just his friends.
I agree with David, most Facebookers are somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.
I find myself this time around being close to the extrovert. It’s not that I’m against privacy control but I just don’t see this as an invasion of mine. Let’s say I checked into a Starbucks and loved my cappuccino. In a burst of caffeine inspired magnitude I share my happiness with my friends in a witty update that goes something like “Mmmm… great coffee here at Starbucks today.” Let’s say that same sentence is later used in an ad that say tells my friends, those same friends that might have seen the update from before, that “Hagit said Mmm… great coffee here at Starbucks today”
Where’s the harm in this? I have already indicated my preference for the brand in front of the same friends to which this ad is displayed. I did this voluntarily and publicly. These friends know I wasn’t paid for my statement, not even in free coffee. What privacy limits are stomped upon? Nothing was taken beyond the privacy range (say friends of friends) that I defined for my original statement.
Also, it’s so easy to opt out of this – simply don’t mention any brands, make your status updates completely brand-free. That’s not so hard to do, is it?