For being as active as I am in social media, I’m kinda sensitive about my privacy. I don’t generally join rewards card programs, I tend to check in to FourSquare “off the grid”, and I don’t like to share a lot of private information in my tweets. Call me nutty, but we already give a lot away via social, so I try to protect what little I can.
One other thing I tend not to do is “like” things.
By clicking that “Like” button, I’m feel like I’m giving the owner of Facebook pages access to a lot of information beyond just the fact that I enjoyed their product or service. In fact, Facebook recently gave application owners access to even more private information, although public outcry caused them to rethink that bad move. However, as if the public outcry of last week didn’t mean a thing, Facebook has pulled another smooth move regarding privacy that’s sure to spark the privacy conversation again.
Today, Facebook announced that if you “like” a page, that page owner can now create a “Sponsored Story” and take your image and status update, and turn it into an ad that can be spread across Facebook without your permission. So, if I were to “like” Starbuck’s Facebook page and then post the status update of “grabbing my third cup of coffee from Starbuck’s today. Watch out co-workers!”, that status update could be turned into an ad without my approval.
Other than the fact that it clearly demonstrates my addiction for premium coffee, the ad turns me into an unofficial spokesperson for a brand. In these days, when celebrities are getting paid big bucks to tweet, I think that co-opting someone’s image and status update would be a little selfish on any brand owners’ part, and enabling them to do it is a dangerous act on Facebook’s part, continuing to spark the privacy debate.
My lesson from this? Don’t click the “like” button, and don’t post about your brand experiences on Facebook. That is, unless you want to potentially become the next unofficial spokesperson of every brand you like.
Note: No disrespect intended to Starbuck’s, as far as I know, they aren’t using this program but provided an example of one of the very, very few Pages on Facebook that I have “Liked”.