The best place to instantly spread rumors and hoax messages is Facebook. The social networking giant’s “Share” and “Like” buttons are so powerful that they are enough to spread a message to nearly thousands of people in no time. Sometimes they’re so powerful, controversial hoax messages are gifted with eternal life. That is, they never stop spreading.
For instance, the following message has been spreading on Facebook ever since it was first posted on the networking giant -
On Friday, Facebook will start using your photos in ads that appear on the profile of your contacts. It is legal and what is listed when you open an account. To prevent this do the following: Go to “Account Settings”, click on “Facebook Adverts” on the left, then click “edit third party advert settings” and choose No One, then save changes
Perhaps it is now almost three years since the message has been spreading on Facebook despite many social media blogs having reported that it is a rumor. However, users on Facebook are continuing to fall for the false message and are spreading the message even today.
The message was spreading so intensely the Facebook team had no choice, but only to alert it users. Back in 2009, Facebook’s ex Corporate Communications Director, Barry Schnitt (now hired by Pinterest) wrote a blog post indicating that the above spreading message is simply a rumor and baseless -
“In the past couple of days, a rumor has begun spreading that claims we have changed our policies for third-party advertisers and the use of your photos. These rumors are false, and we have made no such change in our advertising policies.”
However, that didn’t make any difference. The rumor has continued spreading till date.
So, what’s with this “Facebook will start using your photos in ads”, or “change in advertising policies” all about? According to Facebook’s advertising guidelines, Facebook prohibits advertisers from using user information collected from a Facebook ad, or incorporate them in ads.
Now, since Facebook strictly prohibits advertisers from using user data, spammers took advantage of this and tried spreading a controversial message by stating that Facebook updated their advertising policy, and is now allowing advertisers to use user information, including profile photos. However, none of this is true.
Facebook has never allowed advertisers to use user data in advertisements. However, if in case Facebook does provide ad networks the right to use your name or picture in ads, then you can always determine how your information is used in the Facebook Ads settings page. All you need to do is select “No one” and you’re information is never shared in advertisements.