in Follow-Up, Meddling, Politics

No opting out of Facebook sponsored stories

A few days ago I wondered if Facebook had ignored my “dont-put-my-name-in-ads” Social ad setting when I appeared to endorse Mitt Romney without me knowing. It turns out that Facebook users have no way to opt out of being listed in a Sponsored Ad. Thus Facebook can use your name as fodder for any advertising campaign that is seen between your Facebook friends.

From Facebook’s page explaining Sponsored Ads (emphasis mine):

Sponsored stories
Many of the things you do on Facebook (like “liking” a Page) are posted to your timeline and shared in News Feed. But there’s a lot to read in News Feed. That’s why we allow people to “sponsor” your stories to make sure your friends see them. For example, if you RSVP to an event hosted by a local restaurant, that restaurant may want to make sure your friends see it so they can come too.

If they do sponsor a story, that story will appear in the same place ads usually do or in your News Feed under the heading “Sponsored” or something similar. Only people that could originally see the story can see the sponsored story, and no personal information about you (or your friends) is shared with the sponsor.

Your Show my social actions in Facebook Ads setting only controls ads with social context. It does not control Sponsored Stories, ads or information about Facebook’s services and features, or other Facebook content.

I’m guessing that whomever is hacking accounts for Romney is doing it almost exclusively to put these names in the ads. It’s probably not just to pad the page fan numbers as any old fake accounts could do that. It seems very closely tied to the advertising. Advertising, as I have said before, is one of those things that Facebook tracks very, very closely.