Facebook may have to re-think the way it runs ads on users’ virtual walls that look like endorsements. Should Facebook enable users to explicitly opt in or out of the use of their walls for “sponsored ads?” Privacy and consumer advocates think so and a northern California federal district court just ruled against Facebook’s motion to dismiss user Angel Fraley’s claims, related to the Sponsored Stories ads.
In the case, Seattle Facebook member Angel Fraley is demanding the social network end its practice of adding “Sponsored Stories” to users’ status updates whenever they mention a brand, such as Starbucks, that advertises with Facebook. Those advertiser mentions trigger a sponsored “Like” under the update, making it appear as if the user endorses the brand.
Facebook members are not permitted to opt out of Sponsored Stories — if they don’t like them the only remedy is delete them individually.
Fraley claims that ” Facebook unlawfully misappropriated Plaintiffs’ names, photographs, likenesses, and identities for use in paid advertisements without obtaining Plaintiffs’ consent,” according to the ruling.
She also claims that these sponsored Likes are generated fraudulently because users are often “enticed to click on a ‘Like’ button simply to receive discounts on products, support social causes, or to see a humorous image,” the ruling states.
- Facebook Loses Court Ruling On Mandatory Ads In Your News Feed (businessinsider.com)
- Did a California Judge Just Destroy Facebook’s Ad Model? (forbes.com)
- Facebook “Sponsored Stories” Publicity Rights Lawsuit Survives Motion to Dismiss–Fraley v. Facebook (ericgoldman.org)
- Facebook’s Social Ad Strategy Suffers Legal Blow (allthingsd.com)