We noticed a little change to Facebook that may have slipped past you. Sometime in the past few days, Facebook added “advertise” to the drop-down menu where you access your account and privacy settings:
It’s a tiny change, sure, but it’s one of many small things that Facebook is doing after the IPO to ramp up advertising efforts (and thus revenues). Speaking of advertising revenues, Facebook just settled a class action privacy lawsuit around its Sponsored Stories ads, which are the ones you see in your sidebar featuring pictures of your friends who’ve liked certain companies or pages, like this one:
There is currently no way to opt out of having your photo, name, and the fact that you liked a page used in Sponsored Stories. The plaintiffs argued that Facebook couldn’t use their images in advertising without their consent (and they’re right–it’s a legal principle called the right of publicity).
This lawsuit could have dealt a big blow to Facebook, which depends heavily on advertising for revenues, especially because Sponsored Stories are reportedly 46% more effective than standard Facebook ads and thus an appealing option for advertisers.
It’s unclear how Facebook will handle Sponsored Stories after this settlement, but our guess is that they’ll change things so you’ll have to expressly agree for Facebook to use you in advertising. Which is how it should have been in the first place.
How do you feel about Facebook using your image in advertising?