Commentary

Facebook's Breaking the Rules

  • by , November 11, 2007

If you haven't heard by now, Facebook is using a new method of advertising: they're allowing users to opt-in to share information about products and services they use, and Facebook turns that information around into targeted sponsored ads in the "news feed" feature of the social networking site.

This is quite the innovative approach to targeted advertising -- but some are questioning the legality of it. In particular, New York state has a century old statute that reads "any person whose name, portrait, picture, or voice is used within this state for advertising purposes or for the purposes of trade without the written consent first obtained."

Here's the question: does a broad "opt-in" act translate into "expressed written consent" successfully enough for Facebook to use a person's name, picture, or otherwise to promote a sponsored product or service?

So far, it appears the answer is "no."

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3 comments about "Facebook's Breaking the Rules".
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  1. Regina Thomas from QiSoftware, November 12, 2007 at 9:40 a.m.

    Since Facebook is closed, in that you must sign on to get the news feed-- would not a caveat to the terms of service handle this issue?

    By using our service you agree that ...

    Regina Thomas
    qisoftware.com

  2. Hugh Simpson from WOW! Presentation, November 12, 2007 at 12:23 p.m.

    I'm afraid that it may become a case for what is said in that SMALL print in the agreement you sign with FaceBook or other social networking sites. I'm one of those that in my enthusiasm forget to read each tiny word!

  3. Dean Donaldson from Eyeblaster, November 15, 2007 at 6:25 a.m.

    No matter which way you look at this, it is still 'snoop-and-serve' advertsing on behalf of Facebook assuming rather than requesting.

    Feel free to read my take on this at:
    http://deandonaldson.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/facebooks-plans-to-sell-my-garbage/

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