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Facebook Rolls Out 'Social Ads,' But Here's How to Opt-Out

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Facebook has begun rolling out its controversial 'Social Ads' campaign, which allows companies to use your name and profile picture in advertisements targeted to your friends.

Under the new service, users who 'like' certain pages, events or apps could have their name and picture displayed in online ads for participating companies. If you 'like' Starbucks, for example, your face may pop up in an ad or a promotion on someone else's account. Ads with your name will be visible only to the friends who are allowed to see your status updates and Wall posts. As always, then, your visibility will depend upon how restrictive your privacy settings are.

According to Facebook, the service is designed to "make advertisements more interesting and more tailored" to its users. "For example, if you connect with your favorite band's page, we may display your name and profile photo next to an advertisement for that page that is displayed to your friends," the social network's privacy policy states. "We only share the personally identifiable information visible in the social ad with the friend who can see the ad."

Perhaps more troubling, though, are Facebook's plans to expand the feature. As PC World points out, it looks like the company will eventually allow third-party app developers to use your name and picture in ads placed within Facebook apps. Though the company currently forbids third-parties from using this kind of information, it has already set up a way for users to opt-out of the service, in the event that the mechanism is introduced later on.

If you're concerned about companies using your name and photo to promote their brands, you can opt-out of Social Ads by following a few simple steps, as outlined by WonderHowTo.
  • Just click on the 'Account' tab in the top right-hand corner of your Facebook home page, and select 'Account Settings' from the drop-down menu. There, you'll see another tab, titled 'Facebook Ads,' at the far right of the page.
  • Clicking on the tab will open a new page, where you'll have the chance to change your default settings for third-party ads. Changing the default from 'Only my friends' to 'No one' will guarantee that you won't appear in future ads from third-party apps or sites (just in case Facebook activates this feature in the future).
  • At the bottom of the page, you'll see a field devoted to 'social action' in Facebook ads -- i.e., Social Ads. The site gives you two options: either sharing your social action in ads that will be displayed exclusively to your friends, or sharing it with no one, at all. If you're looking to avoid the service altogether, go for the latter, and click 'Save Changes' when you're finished.

Tags: advertising, facebook, opt-out, privacy, Social Ads, SocialAds, SocialNetworking, TargetedAdvertising, top, Web