Facebook Says Goodbye to a Controversial Ad Feature
BY Abigail Tracy
Businesses will no longer be able to reap the benefits from Sponsored Stories, a feature that sends users ads for products their friends have endorsed.
Facebook has announced the end of Sponsored Stories.
The advertising feature--which has been the source of much controversy among privacy advocates--will expire on April 9.
Launched in 2011, the feature creates social endorsements for businesses and products on the social media platform. For instance, when Facebook users indicate that they like a product, their profile picture may appear alongside an advertisement for that product in their friends' news feeds.
From the start, privacy advocates were not fans of the feature, arguing that it violated the privacy rights of users (most notably minors) by using their likes and profile pictures without consent. The Sponsored Stories feature resulted in a class-action lawsuit against Facebook that ended in a $20 million settlement back in August.
Facebook did not get rid of the Sponsored Stories after the lawsuit. Now, however, it seems that businesses will have to say goodbye to the social endorsements they have been getting.
Facebook's Sponsored Stories feature, however, is not unlike Shared Endorsements on Google+, a feature that Google recently has made efforts to enhance. With Shared Endorsements, a Google+ user's profile name and photo might appear in Google products' display ads, according to CNET.
Google just announced another change to Google+ that may rankle privacy advocates. Now Google+ users will be able to send e-mail to their contacts on the social network through a Gmail accountwithout needing their e-mail address, reported TechCrunch.