Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fakebook

Awhile back, I started seeing postings from my Facebook friends endorsing products of dubious efficacy such as herbal diet pills.  I suspected that these were fake ads posted by Facebook.  I took a screenshot of one and e-mailed it to the friend who had supposedly posted it.  "Yikes," she replied, "that wasn't me."

A quick search revealed that Facebook had been recently sued over these fake endorsements, which they euphemistically refer to as "sponsored stories", and was ordered to pay a fine of ten million dollars.  Facebook responded by modifying the terms of use of their service to require that every Facebook user authorize allowing them to use their name, photo, content, and other information for any advertising.

On 2013 August 30th, I received an e-mail from Facebook announcing that their "Data Use Policy" and "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities" documents had been updated to clarify
What to expect when it comes to using your name, profile picture, content and personal info with ads or commercial content.
At this point I knew that my continued use of the Facebook website would require me to give Facebook my consent for them to present false postings of me endorsing whatever products they chose.  Facebook was asking me for permission to deceive my friends.

I searched and found a website explaining how to quit Facebook and have your account deleted.  After a two week waiting period, Facebook finally granted my request.  My wife Shannon had already quit Facebook a month or two before.

Please join me in dropping Facebook.  It is absurd that a business would even consider it appropriate to ask its users to conspire with them to defraud their friends.  Meet me on the alternative social networking website Google+ which is run by a company with the unofficial motto of Don't be evil.



Update 2013-10-11

It looks like I might have spoken too soon when I endorsed Google+ as the safe alternative because Google is now getting into the same game. A distinction between what Google and Facebook are doing is that Google only shares endorsements of products that you have actually rated whereas Facebook will associate you with any product. Another distinction is that Google permits you to opt out.

3 comments:

Heather said...

I deleted my FB account last week!

Madalyn Gregory said...

Unfortunately, Google is going down the same path.

http://thenextweb.com/google/2013/10/11/google-reveals-plans-use-name-photo-alongside-shared-endorsements-ads-web/?fromcat=all

David Wallace Croft said...

Thanks for the heads-up, Madalyn.