A few minutes ago a friend posted instructions on how to stop Facebook Ads from using my friends’ faces to catch my attention. Here they are:
FACEBOOK has agreed to let a third party advertisers use your posted pictures WITHOUT your permission. Click on SETTINGS up at the top where you see the Log out link. Select Privacy. Then select NEWSFEEDS and WALL. Next select the tab that reads FACEBOOK ADS. There is a drop down box, select NO ONE. Then SAVE your changes. (REPOST to let your friends know!)
I did repost, and thought: I am using the master’s tools to dismantle the master’s house (see Audre Lorde quote below). Facebook provides an incredible market for advertisers, and competition for users’ attention is fierce. But, with all of the benefits and drawbacks of private information existing publicly, Facebook users do have boundaries. Third party ads using the faces of our friends crossed one of those boundaries. The feeling of violation when a man saw his wife’s face on a singles ad lets us know that our connected culture still has strong boundaries.
It was not Facebook that took the wife’s face, but a third-party advertiser who did so. But they did so only because Facebook provided them access (though this particular case might have been a violation of the Terms of Service). And how did Facebook users react? We used viral marketing to spread our dissatisfaction, and the cure for Facebook’s indiscretion, posting to our walls, blogging about it, complaining in person. Using Facebook to keep Facebook in line. It’s a little like democracy out there on the web.
“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”–Audre Lorde…except in the case of social media