Facebook has launched the new version of Facebook Beacon which was shut down due to the class action lawsuit and the introduction of the opt-out as opposed to the opt-in that we have become accustomed to with Facebook. Facebook Beacon was launched in 2007 and the community was just not ready for the sudden change. Fast forward to a few years later where the opt-out has become a norm and enter the Facebook Like and Link. You like,  you are linking to that page and forgoing privacy. You can still set your profile to friends only or friends of friends of everyone but with the the new “Sponsored Ads” by liking and linking and check-ins (which are in essence liking and linking) your updates are open to becoming ads. Regardless of the privacy you set, if you Like or Check-In and the brand is a part of the new advertising, you are subject to your update to be part of the ad campaign.

Facebook Sponsored Stories

A Facebook Sponsored Story is an ad platform where the advertiser is able to pull updates from users whom have Liked, Checked In or mentioned the brand (only if they have liked and linked) in their status update. These updates/quotes are then put into an ad and published without approval of the user. Permission is granted when you like or check in. The “Like” button seemed innocent as we liked what we liked and branded ourselves with their brand on our page. No  harm, no foul. Now advertisers are able to take our updates and have Facebook create ads. Yes, Facebook creates the ads. The advertiser has the option to include the the comment with the Like. Is this a hater’s dream? Could be as the advertiser, if they allow the comment, is not able to review it before it is published.

Facebook Settings for Fame

Your Facebook settings are determining your fame. If your setting are to friends only, then only your friends will see the ad. If it is set to friends of friends and if their friends fit the demographics then they see it and if it is open to everyone, all of the targeted market of the advertiser shall see it. The sponsored stories are simply ads of your words, that you are not being compensated for and actually with check-ins, you are paying them to use your ad (presuming you purchased something while there). The Sponsored Stories are a chance for advertisers to create a word-of-mouth of sorts as if a trusted friend says it is good, then it must be, right? Until we realize that they did not really endorse this ad. Yes, they by posting about the product they may be, but is that an endorsement that should be associated with the brand? Is the posting as an ad creating a fame platform? Advertisers and Facebook hope so.

If your friends see your posting as an ad, they will talk. This is what the advertisers want. Your words become an ad and your friends see it and talk about it. For the brand it is a mention but for the user it is a bit of fame. Seeing your words associated with a brand and others seeing what you have said is powerful. While this sparks the creativity of posting updates that are targeted at the brand for an ad for the fame of being a part of a brand and evoking open/everyone profiles, it also empowers the negativity that can destroy a brand.

The Dark Side – Brand Destruction

The fame for some is important. Fame of being the destroyer is sometimes more powerful than being the supporter. If an advertiser allows the comments, it can create a massive outpouring of haters. This can potentially destroy the brand though the negativity. We know that fame is what provokes people. Why else would reality TV still be striving? We love train wrecks, heartfelt stories and the thought that we can make it and be that person. A like is associating a profile with that brand hoping that the brand notices us. We know this to be true. I have said it numerous times, that my 25 year loyalty to Diet Pepsi should give me an edge for a home delivery so that I do not have to carry it all inside. Do I really believe that they would notice me or care, nah, but it would be nice. They know I will still drink it and support them if they deliver to me or I have to lug it into the house.

Brand destruction in the Facebook Sponsored Stories are inviting. Likes have been how some see the ROI and when positive it is a case study, but the brands that have paid attention and monitored have countered the haters. The current ad structure that allows the comments associated does not give a brand a chance to respond. The ad is out there for all of the user friends to see. Negativity spreads like a bad cold … the gift that keeps on giving with a lot of supporters against.

In advertising we have created ads that were governed by the advertising holy grail. The copywriters, the talent, the employees of the agency were all under the legal release of ownership. Is the new platform on Facebook supporting that holy grail? Absolutely, as if the advertisers do not, they will have a disclaimer that when you like their page that it can be used within their advertising without any compensation to you. Funny how that works out for them.

Opting Out of Facebook Sponsored Like Ads

You cannot. The only way is to unlike a page or not talking about them. However, there are a few ways to exclude yourself from the ads. There are not many brands taking part in this new advertising, and, at the time of this publishing, and upon information and belief, the brands that are taking part in the Sponsored Stories are, according to Mashable, Coke, Levi’s, Anheuser Busch and Playfish. If this goes well, we will see more brand coming on board.  You can also refrain from talking about the brand or checking-in but should we as users be suppressed from supporting our favorite brands because they can expose us?

Is this new ad platform promoting fame for users and fortune for the advertisers? Is it more taking us back to the one way communications that traditional advertising has afforded through the silent word of mouth?

photo credit:  jaycameron