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HindustanTimes Tue,02 Sep 2014

Facebook on the defensive in photo abuse controversy

Ruchi Hajela, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 27, 2009
First Published: 23:31 IST(27/7/2009) | Last Updated: 01:10 IST(28/7/2009)
Social networking site Facebook has defended a controversial move that allows its partners to use members’ hosted photos to promote advertisements.

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While the Internet site at the heart of an online revolution is busy saying that does not hurt privacy or user rights, members can take heart — it is possible to get out of the mess by adjusting your accounts just a little bit.

How to fend off ads

* Go to ‘Settings’ and select ‘Manage’ under the privacy tag.

* Move to ‘News feed and Wall’ and click on ‘Facebook Ads’.

* Select ‘No one’ for ‘Appearance in Facebook ads’.

Facebook, whose accounts come free, allows independent “third party” software and content companies to plug in quizzes, games and other applications that make the site a milling destination for fun and banter.

Dismissing talk of abuse as rumour, Facebook has passed on the responsibility to application developers who may embed such ads for product publicity.

“The ads that started the rumour are not from Facebook. They are ads placed within apps by developers. We are concerned about any potential threat to our users’ experience.  We prohibit ads on platforms that cause a bad user experience, are misleading, or otherwise violate our policies,” Facebook said in a statement.

By installing an application or participating in a quiz on the site, a user gives a developer access to one’s profile and other details, which the developer may use for ‘social ads’ that add a user’s social context — such as friends’ photos, videos or location — to make them more credible and relevant.

The catch lies in terms and conditions.

According to Facebook, users can restrict usage of their content by altering privacy settings. Users, however, are upset.

Anti-Facebook campaigns have sprung up on the site itself.

“How is it then, after my family and I have changed our settings so that no-one can use our pictures for third party ads... today I see an ad, with a pic of my mother added with it, telling me if I answer the question correctly & guess her age, I can win a $500 Coles voucher? (Coles is a supermarket in Australia, if anyone isn’t sure)?” Megan Brian, a Facebook user from Australia wrote in a group called ‘Stand Up! Don’t Let Facebook Invade Your Social Life With Ads!’


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