A new policy change to Facebook, released today, allows Facebook to implement technology that will be able to scan through a database of faces in tagged pictures, store them, and use them for advertising purposes for their own financial gain. If Facebook likes your face and thinks it would look great on an ad, their new policy allows them to use it, and you get zilch, nada, zero.
Facebook was sued recently, for doing this very same thing, to the tune of $20 million dollars. Instead of admitting that using people’s pictures for advertisements without their permission and without compensation is reprehensible, and a complete violation of users’ rights, Facebook simply decided to “better explain” to users more clearly that that is exactly what they are going to do, and it doesn’t matter whether the public likes it or not.
“We rewrote the entire advertising section to better explain what we thought was important for people to know about how we use the information we receive to provide relevant ads to people on and off Facebook,” said Erin Egan, Facebook Chief’s “Privacy” Manager.
In other words, screw you. Yes, that’s right folks; Facebook has decided they are going to use ours faces and names in ads to endorse any product they think we like. So, you could wake up tomorrow morning and see your face and name plastered all over a “sponsored story” for Depends Undergarments or an ad for a similarly embarrassing personal product you would never want to endorse and perhaps even abhor.
And don’t rest easy thinking that the algorithms are effective; there have even been complaints in the past from folks who have gotten Christian Mingle Ads despite being married and atheist. To put it more simply, the algorithms suck. That means that it is very possible your picture could show up on something that has nothing to do with you whatsoever. For example, say you’re an activist who has protested Walmart’s business practices. How embarrassing will it be to have a sponsored story go around to all of your colleagues saying you love shopping at Walmart?
But guess what? It gets worse. This new policy also applies to minors. Yes, that’s right, now your son or daughter may be endorsing products you want nothing to do with; their face and name visible to complete strangers, depending on your friends’ privacy settings. This means your anxiety over all of the creepy wackos out on there in the internet should just about quadruple. Will the sedatives market be inundated with orders when this change goes into effect?
Then there’s the money part. Facebook already makes billions off its users in advertising. This will allow them to make billions more. This seems tremendously unfair, but Facebook couldn’t care less. They’re going to take your face and name, and use it with no compensation to you and there is nothing you can do to stop them unless you stop using Facebook and delete your account.
To those who say “if you don’t like Facebook, don’t use it,” please consider that at this point in society, that’s not really an option. A Facebook account has become as indispensable as the telephone for most people, and recent studies have shown that a person is more likely to be looked upon with suspicion from a potential employer if the person does not use social media, including Facebook.
Facebook has a moral obligation to do the right thing, but instead, they stick it to us at every turn. With great power comes great responsibility goes the saying; Facebook is abusing its power and failing to live up to its responsibility to be moral by deciding to scan faces and names and use them for ads with no compensation.
By: Rebecca Savastio