Unlike the Euro or Facebook’s stock price, the value of a Like on Facebook just shot through the roof.
Ed Bott on ZDNet wrote an amazing piece yesterday describing how Facebook now is posting content from brands you’ve “Liked” into your friend’s news feeds…. and they attach your name to it. It’s a bit surreal to believe except that Bott confirmed the practice with Facebook.
These posts appear as regular posts in the News Feed. The posts are preceded by “Jim Dougherty likes Brand X” and then Brand X’s latest post appears. To your friends, it appears that you have personally shared this content with them.
Presumably this is a paid feature although it’s doubtful that the advertisers even understand that this is happening or it would have been reported sooner. Facebook is explicitly leveraging your reputation to increase the effectiveness of their advertising product. It’s another example of Facebook pushing the envelope of privacy to show that they can be a viable advertising platform.
As this becomes more widespread (and Bott points out that he expects it to escalate during election season), reaction to this will probably give a good indication of how much of a monopoly Facebook has in social media. Facebook seems willing to discover the pain point for its users, and I hope this is it. I am not excited to see the next escalation.
One thing you can do to protect your friends from these type of messages is to manage your profile and weed out any group (particularly political) that might advertise heavily on Facebook. You can find your list of “Likes” at facebook.com/yourusername/favorites
As I looked at my “Likes” I was elated to see that singer Michelle Anthony posted a new demo called “Love Love Love” – which seemed the perfect counterpoint to how many people feel about Facebook right now.