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Useless Warning – Facebook Will Start Using Your Photos in Ads on Friday

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Rapidly circulating message warns that on Friday, Facebook will start using your photographs in ads targeting your friends.

Brief Analysis

While there is an element of truth to the message, it is nevertheless misleading and inaccurate. There are no credible reports that indicate that changes to Facebook’s existing “social ads” policy are set to take place on Friday. In fact, the message is a revamped version of another spurious warning that began circulating in mid-2011 and claimed that Facebook would become the owner of your images “on Friday”.

Example

On Friday, Facebook will start using your photos in ads targeting your contacts and fb friends. It is legal and was mentioned to you when you open an account.

To prevent this do the following: Home -> Account Settings -> Facebook Ads (Bottom of left hand navigation panel ) -> Adverts shown by third parties -> Edit third party advert settings, then choose “No one” in the list and save the changes.

Copy or share this and please spread the word!

Detailed Analysis

According to this “warning” message, which is currently rocketing virally across Facebook, the network will start using your photographs in ads that target your friends on Friday. The message explains how to prevent this impending change and asks users to share the information as a warning to others.

However, the warning is too vague, misleading and inaccurate to have any real value.
The message refers to “Friday” as the day for the supposed change, but makes no effort to clarify WHICH Friday. In fact, versions of this silly message have already been circulating for well over a year. Many Fridays have thus come and gone with nary a sign of the changes discussed.

The way the message is worded suggests that it is referring – at least in part – to Facebook social ads, which “show an advertiser’s message alongside actions you have taken, such as liking a Page”. Posts that include your profile photo may be paired with an ad or highlighted in a sponsored story. But, this advertising policy is certainly not set to be launched on “Friday”. In fact, it has already been in place for several years.

Moreover, the would-be warning does not offer instructions for controlling these existing social ads at all. In fact, the instructions describe how to disable a related social context advertising system that Facebook may allow at some point in the future. Following the instructions in the post opened a page with the following message:

Facebook does not give third party applications or ad networks the right to use your name or picture in ads. If we allow this in the future, the setting you choose will determine how your information is used.

At the time of writing, users could choose to get in early and disable this setting in case Facebook decided to allow this type of advertising in the future. But there is nothing to indicate that Facebook is about to allow this new form of advertising this Friday or anytime soon.

In fact, as the following example illustrates, the entire garbled message is nothing more than a reworked variant of an earlier – and equally useless – message that claimed that Facebook was about to take ownership of your photographs “on Friday”:

ATTENTION: On Friday, Facebook will become owner of the publishing rights of ALL your private photos. You need to make a simple change: go to ‘account’, ‘account settings’, ‘facebook adverts'(along the top), ‘ads shown by third parties’, choose ‘NO ONE’ then SAVE. 2 seconds’ job. And please Share share share. (for those who haven’t done this yet.)

Thus, sending on this inaccurate and redundant “warning” is unlikely to help Facebook users protect their privacy. As noted, social ads have already been around for years. And the third-party advertiser version of the social ads concept is something that Facebook may implement at some point in the future, but it is NOT due to come online “this Friday”.



Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer