Feb 06 AT 3:47 PM Edgar Cervantes 39 Comments

Poll: Should Facebook sneak mobile ads into your News Feed?

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We have news for Facebook users out there – especially if you tend to use it on the go. Recent reports are stating that the social network giant is going to start displaying advertisements to mobile users, coming May.

These will not be your normal ads, which normally occupy a clearly designated area. According to the Financial Times, Facebook will take another route, using what they are calling “Featured Stories.” These advertisements will appear among the posts from your loved (or not so loved) ones, meaning that ads will simply look like another update in your News Feed.

It is unclear whether the ads will only be pushed toward users accessing the social network via a browser, or the app – though we assume that it would be simpler to apply this new method to the entirety of Facebook mobile. However, it doesn’t seem that this would drastically change things since it would just be a new occurrence in your News Feed.

We understand that Facebook is not a non-profit organization – they want their money. Can we blame them?

We are a bit torn. While it is a good way for advertising to not seem so disruptive, it is a bit annoying to see ads when expecting to see updates from friends and family.

What do you think about seeing ads in your News Feed? Would you mind them if they were implemented in a way that more clearly distinguished them as ads? Or do you pretty much hate the idea altogether?

Via: Droid-Life

Source: Reuters

Hello, I am Edgar Cervantes. I am an avid Android fan, and keeping myself updated on the topic is part of my daily life. I will always work hard to give the best of me to our community of Android enthusiasts, and I am very honored to be part of this ship. Hopefully we can all enjoy sharing our knowledge and opinions!

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  • steve19137

    If they can be blocked by the AdBlock on the Market, I don’t care.

    • Edgar Cervantes

      If it is done as a featured story, I doubt it can be blocked… It would seem like the system is completely different. They would not be ACTUAL advertisements. Are there any experts out there that would be able to help us figure this one out?

      • Angie Wimberly

        Based on the given info, I’d venture that you’re correct. It seems like there would have to be changes made to current ad blockers, or new ad blockers made to specifically target ones in your News Feed, (if that can happen at all, I have no idea).

      • steve19137

        Yeah, I see what you mean. But if it’s the normal bar in the bottom, we already have that covered.

      • zim333311

        The way the ad blockers work is that they block requests to specific servers that are used for ads. As long as these newsfeed ads use the same method of connecting to these servers, they will be blocked.

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

    So very glad there’s a “I don’t care” option. I stopped caring about Facebook when I realized that they were in business to confuse their users to make more data publicly available so Facebook could sell your data.

    Did you know that all of your photos you publicly share are allowed to be sold by Facebook for stock photography?

    Also, I think FAR too many people become “addicted” to Facebook and that has ruined SOO many friendships because the addicted person stops being a real friend and only “Friends” you and chats with you online (and tries to water your corn).

    So yeah, that crap turned me away from Facebook.

    • McLovin

      … “Did you know that all of your photos you publicly share are allowed to be sold by Facebook for stock photography?” …

      Yup, I don’t trust them at all. You can disable some of this from happening.

      http://www.dailyfinance.com/2009/07/17/facebook-now-lets-advertisers-use-your-picture/
      http://www.culturesmithconsulting.com/2009/07/change-your-facebook-settings-or-else/

    • Shadowlore

      (Jax, note this post isn’t directly targeted at you, just that I see this pop up every few months, and it’s driving me nuts at the amount of people that believe it.)

      Let me start off by saying, I hate Facebook. I’m sick of seeing stupid farmville, Mafia Wars, Gangsters, and every other stupid game update in my wall posts from friends. However, I’m stuck using FB because many people I want to keep in touch with are using it… (I actually post most of my stuff to Google+ and then link to the G+ post on FB. XD

      That said, I’m also a Network/Operations Admin at a large company, and a semi-pro photographer (I shoot weddings, mainly) … and I’ve ran into this myth multiple times. It is *NOT* true.

      Facebook has written a number of posts about it, and multiple publications have written articles about it. (And those that claim that they can, aren’t telling the full story)

      When you upload a photo to facebook, yes, you agree to let them duplicate it for a truely nefarious purpose…. to copy it to the news feed of people you follow. If you take the time to read through everything you agree to when you sign up for FB, you’d realize this.

      Yes, there is an option to allow your face to be used in a targeted ad (only to people you’ve already agreed to share your posts with), but most people have opted out of that for now. (what these ads often do, is place your picture next to an ad, that has nothing to do with you, so people click on it)

      Now, what they CAN do is take your base level information, such as your marital status, and send you targeted ads based on that status. For example, if you list your status as ‘married’, FB can tell FTD Flowers they will send an ad for Valentine’s Day to everyone listed as a ‘married’ ‘male’ an ad to “Buy her flowers”. Believe it or not, advertisers don’t care about you, specifically. They care about their targeted demographic. For example: Walmart advertises on facebook.. they don’t care that you, Joe Smith goto Walmart. I’m sorry, but they don’t. What they DO care about is telling facebook: ‘Please send this ad to any feed that is listed as: Male, between ages of 18-50, located in IL, MO, IA, TN, or KY, that has mentioned ‘Walmart’ in their wall post in the last 30 days.

      It’s far too often that people seem to think that the amount of data being ‘shared’ is like an open database that advertisers are free to peruse, when that is simple not the case. The amount of data is, usually (don’t get me started on ‘MySpace’) a variable with no names associated.

      FB’s ‘strength’ is the same reason I hate it so much… it caters to the lowest common denominator, and allows people that will post anything and everything to the world… these are often the same people that fall into the rumor mongering that happens every few days with regards to facebook such as the standard ‘If 100 people repost this, Bill Gates will give you a Platinum Rolls Royce with 10 hot models in it for your own fantasy pleasures.’

      As always, I encourage everyone to not believe everything you hear on the net, and do the research for yourself… 90% of what you read on the net is either a.) false b.) embellished truth c.) “True… from a certain point of view”.

      Oh, and before someone starts linking me various blog posts by people no one has ever heard of, claiming all of this is true… save yourself the CTRL-V (Paste) and go find a reputable news source that cites it first. (Note: Fox News is not a reputable news source, thanks) :)

      • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

        I appreciate your calling me out on this. I do admit, I am not the most informed on this matter. Because of this and your post (I’m inclined to believe you over my prior understanding), I hit up Facebook’s terms: http://www.facebook.com/legal/terms

        Very near the beginning, they state:
        “For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

        My best interpretation of that is that I have granted them royalty-free rights (i.e. they don’t pay me) to sub-license (i.e. sell) my IP content (photos) that I post on Facebook.

        Please correct my misunderstanding of this but that seems very clear to me. I don’t want to be spreading misinformation.

        • Shadowlore

          Rest assured, it wasn’t aimed at you, Jax. (as I stated originally) But to keep the conversation going, (and to encourage everyone to do their own due diligence as you just have) I’m going to discuss a few of the terms they use.

          The key phrase to look at there, is “subject to your privacy and application settings”.

          Essentially, they’re saying: ‘If you give us full permission to show it off to the world, we can (and will, since it’s a public post). However, if your permissions limit it to ‘Friends of Friends’ or ‘Friends Only’, they will only share it with those individuals.

          The rest of the legalize simply states that you’re giving them permission to use it as you’ve set up in your permissions, without any chance of you coming back and suing them for ‘accidentally’ giving it to someone else.

          The other really nasty rumor that is usually tied to this is that once you delete your photos, they can still sell the photos. (It’s completely false, as we’ve already seen in the prior statement in the ToS, but they also point out: “This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

          That is, if you delete your photo, Facebook no longer has any rights to it. However, they’re not guaranteeing that just because you deleted a post, that someone else didn’t copy it.

          The Sub-licensing, is once again, just saying they have the right to duplicate it onto others walls.

          Keep in mind, however, when they are referring to IP Content, that also includes anything else you type. If you post lyrics to a song you’ve written, or a simple bashing of someone on your wall, you’re saying the following with the ToS “I understand that what I post is my responsibility to lock down accordingly, and give Facebook the permissions to copy the files based on how I have my security settings set at the time of my posting, even if that is accidentally sent to people I didn’t want to see it. I furthermore indicate everything that I post is of my own volition, and I can not go back and later charge Facebook for the use of that post. If I want it gone, I need to make sure I delete it myself”.

          It’s a ‘CYA’ disclaimer that extends for a long ways.

          I’m actually shocked they don’t have a time limit disclaimer in the listing, tbh.

          (Lotta experience with these sort of Terms of Service agreements that I have to sign with wedding planners, DJs, videographers, etc..etc..)

          • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

            Oh, even if you targeted me, that’s fine. I enjoy a healthy debate. And ultimately, I would be pleased to be convinced that I’m wrong here – it would allow me to not be so negative against Facebook. :-)

            My original claim is that Facebook is in the (copy/paste from my first post in this thread of replies) “business to confuse their users to make more data publicly available so Facebook could sell your data”. I get that if it’s not publicly posted, then there are some serious restrictions. What’s feeding my claim is how every 2 months (pulling a number out of my butt – sure seems like it’s quite often), Facebook changes all of their privacy settings around so if you mastered how to lock down your data in Facebook, you have to remaster it again just a short period of time later. Not only that, they keep adding new shiny features that make it easier for you to change more of your data to be more public. As soon as it gets to the point where it’s public, they can sell it if they wish.

            You said that the “sub-license” means that they can only duplicate it on others’ walls. Perhaps that was their intention and maybe it’s even true that is all they do. However, I claim that “sub-license” can also mean sell the photos as stock photography via http://www.stockphotos.com (made up the URL – not implying anything about what actually exists there) or some other service like that. Do they sell every photo as stock photography? Doubtful. But still, let’s stick to the facts. And the facts are that the agreement allows for them to sell my photos as stock photography without me making a dime just as long as my photo is publicly visible.

            So I stick by my claim that they’re in business to trick you into publicly sharing your stuff so they can make money off of it. And yeah, they get the targeted advertising (and other) revenue too – that’s probably mostly fine albeit annoying sometimes. And now that they’re going public, you can bet that they will be more inclined to do whatever they can to maximize profits and potential. If they’re not already selling photos as stock photography yet they’re allowed to, why wouldn’t they start once they get into a pure profit-driven mode? (Up until the IPO, they’ve been in a potential-driven mode and not a profit-driven mode.)

        • Shadowlore

          Sidenote: Not sure if anyone remembers this, but I vaguely remember a few bands that posted music to MySpace a few years ago, later coming back and trying to sue MySpace for lost sales (since the band posted it in a format that allowed fans to download the song, without agreeing to terms of use)… I suspect Facebook put the legal doublespeak (in multiple locations) to cover their posteriors in the event any of that happens on their site.

          • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

            Very possible that the agreement is unfairly one-sided for simple CYA reasons. I still don’t trust them, ESPECIALLY going public and becoming a profit-driven beast!

  • ranwanimator

    I don’t really care about Facebook, but on principle I’m sick of ads being shoved in my face everywhere I go and on everything I own. We’re two steps away from Minority Report and frankly I’d rather gouge my eyes out.

  • MitchRapp81

    Facebook should re-evaluate their Android app. It is by far one of the worst apps I have ever dealt with in all of Android.

    Coming from a multi-billion dollar company ………………………

  • beneyc

    May encourage the shift of people over to google+
    Google+ needs something to kickstart it

  • http://blog.artesea.co.uk artesea

    don’t really care, my facebook feed is already full of rubbish it thinks is “featured” from my friends, I doubt I would notice rubbish from people paying for it to appear.

  • greeny42

    Well since Facebook is now becoming a public company, they are going to continue to push more ads no matter what. The stockholders will now expect increased revenues every year or else. Facebook will have to make that extra revenue each year from somewhere, and considering they don’t actually make or sell a physical product, it will have to be on the back of increased ads…

    and probably Farmville. Ha.

    • delinear

      They are going to have to strike a balance though, between generating revenue and keeping users. A couple of years ago it was hard to see where users could go if they left FB en masse. Now Google+ is a viable alternative and the last thing FB ever want to see is lots of people abandoning them for the competition.

  • spazby

    don’t use facebook… so don’t really care

  • Hall Lo

    Oh please dun. I would definitely leave facebook just because of that.

  • Vance

    I think the real let down here is not to the end users (let’s be honest, we’re not the “customer” we’re the product being sold); the let down is to all of the businesses who have invested in time and resource into creating a successful and FREE social medial presence. By effectively running promotions, giveaways, contests, and other online activities, these businesses have been able to build networks of consumers who actually AGREE to have them post updates and “sell stuff” to them in their news feeds. That’s the way social media marketing SHOULD work. Let me choose which businesses, products, and industries appeal to me, and then by all means, show me your best stuff. Once they open it up to anyone willing to pay, it dilutes the market presence and power these businesses, who did it the right way, once had.
    Shame on you FB.

    • delinear

      Given that Facebook wasn’t the first big social network and probably won’t be the last, it was always a risky strategy for companies “betting the farm” on Facebook.

      Having said that, users are Facebook’s only real bankable asset. They have to at least try to keep users happy. Hopefully that will make them think very carefully about how much they annoy users with ads and such (for instance, people might not mind ads in their news stream if they don’t generate a notification alert and are flagged as advertising).

  • taketheleap

    Facebook is going to do what they want, plain and simple.

    That applies to UI, ads, privacy and everything else on their site.

    • professandobey

      Agreed. This is why I don’t go to my facebook account anymore, and I just use it to reply if anyone sends me a message directly.

      I deleted my account once, but my wife got really mad at me, so I had to reactivate it.

  • Max.Steel

    Don’t really care. I deleted my Facebook last month. It took some dedication but I did it. In between the growing lack of privacy controls, making our every move open to all our friends with the ticker, forcing timeline down users’ throats and it becoming too much of a time waster for me, I just couldn’t take it anymore.

  • redman618

    Never had a Facebook page. More reason to NEVER get one. I have a Google+. What sucks on G+ is when.a company advertises on their G+ page trying to get me to go to their Facebook page. Something about letting everyone/anyone know all my perseonal information just doesn’t do.it for me!!

  • Naitsaves

    Google+ ftw

  • slurms mckenzie

    have never used it and never will

  • Pax

    Facebook sucks.

  • http://youtube.com/user/jawckamoe Marcus

    Facebook has been doing stuff like this a lot recently. I don’t even care anymore. I don’t even use Facebook that much.

  • geeknik

    It’s a free service, they can do whatever the hell they want.

  • jamal adam

    Good thing the amount of time I spend on FB has been decreasing lately. Ads on mobile phones is a bad idea. The screen is too small to fit all of their junk. If they want to do then they better find a way that does not disrupt the user experience. That’s all. If they don’t, that’s to bad for them because I love Google+ anyways.

  • Cajj

    Hmmm… Facebook has been dying for me personally due to all of their small changes. This will just add to the mounting number of things that annoy me about Myspace2 err… I mean FaceSpace… no wait … aww forget it

  • Jorge Vieira

    Facebook is way to intrusive for my liking.

  • Trinhbo

    This has all kinds of suck written all over it. I hated the “Highlighted Posts” feature on Facebook because they never got it right and I get fed posts from people I’m not even close with. Now they want to clutter my timeline with ads too? Damn…

  • http://willoughbyjunction.com Jayson Olson

    ::In my best Darth Vader voice:: “NOOOOOO!!!!!”

    Really, a $5B IPO isn’t enough for them…now I might gets ads on a phone for other phones?