Facebook Announces Demise of its ‘Sponsored Stories’ Ad Feature
It seems that the last thing Facebook may need these days is another negative controversy. That is why the social networking site has announced plans to shut down its ‘Sponsored Stories’ feature on its Website. It would stop appearing on timelines starting April 9.
The controversial ad feature has brought legal troubles to the company especially pertaining to privacy. Logically, many observers have already seen this coming. Facebook’s announcement was made through its own forum for developers.
This news could be a good one to those Facebook users who dislike putting their pictures and names on ads. Thus, the proposed change could possibly be considered as mainly cosmetic in nature.
The controversial ad feature was introduced by the company in 2011. Since then, it has created a unique social endorsement scheme for online ads. How does it work? Any Facebook user who ‘likes’ any ad would expect his profile picture appearing on ads especially on his friends’ news feeds.
As expected, the feature has been raising the ire of privacy advocates, who had already filed a class-action case against Facebook. The complaint argued that the company breached privacy rights particularly of minors, whose profiles could also be dragged once they ‘like’ ads.
It advised its users that their data could be considered as fair game. Facebook clearly stated and warned users that their photos and ‘likes’ could possibly appear on ads they click on the network. The company even warned that this policy may not spare minors.
Getting out of the hook for now
Facebook reiterated that stand recently. It pointed out that despite its decision to kill Sponsored Stories, it would continue ‘Social Context,’ or stories about actions taken by friends like checking in at a food joint of liking another page.
Advertisers may no longer design ads that showcase likes and check-ins of Facebook users. But they are now free to make ads for products for news feeds and side panels. However, Facebook reiterated that for now, its main focus is the demise of Sponsored Stories, which has given it enough headaches from legal issues.