Facebook Policy Puts Your Picture With Advertisements - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Facebook Policy Puts Your Picture With Advertisements

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     Your Facebook picture could be endorsing products without your knowledge. The social media giant recently spelled out more ways your information can be used. Privacy groups are sounding off on Facebook's updated privacy policies they claim would make it easier for the site to use your images and content. Most people are unaware of it, but it's not entirely new.

     Facebook says the ad practices have not changed but new language makes it clear what it does with user information. For example, a business pays Facebook to display your name and/or profile picture in connection with ads that show up on your friends' profiles.  When you sign up for Facebook you're granting that permission. But for a lot of users learning more about ad policy it's a little alarming. 

    Tennessee native David Bell checks his Facebook account a couple of times daily. Living in the Quad Cities area now, he uses it mainly to keep in touch with people back home. Bell recently found out more on how his picture and profile data can be used.

    "I almost came very close to canceling my Facebook because of the policy," said Bell.
    He and many other users are not content that their content could be used for commercial purposes and endorsing products of Facebook's advertisers. But Bell says it depends on the subject of the ad. "If it's something I don't use I'd probably have a problem with it."

     "It's a privacy issue. It's not the advertisers property to be using that," said Brandon Wiggins of Davenport.

     Both users understand it's the price they pay to use the service. Social media experts say privacy policies are often changing and always confusing.  

     "Really, people need to read the fine print whenever they're signing up for something so they know exactly what it is they're signing up for," said Stephanie De Pasquale-Soebbing, Social Media Manager for TAG Communications, Inc.

     Facebook's updated language was in response to a recent $20 million class-action settlement over its privacy protections. The added transparency is a reminder to be careful of what you do share.

     "It looks like it's just using facial recognition software to help tag you in photos," added De Pasquale-Soebbing. "The more information you put online, the more vulnerable you are to have people know who you are and what you're doing."

    You can still control privacy settings on many levels, including opting out of social ads that get shared on friends' pages.  A half-dozen public interest groups have asked the Federal Trade Commission to block the updates to Facebook's privacy policies.