Facebook, the giant social network will be closing down the most controversial form of advertising of its history: Sponsored Stories. It’s a kind of adverts that exploit the user’s social graph to get a much more targeted audience, but also potentially intrusive. The purge has been scheduled, more precisely you won’t be seeing “sponsored stories” on Facebook starting from April 9.
The social network addressed the change in a note of the Facebook and Privacy page, “marketers will no longer be able to purchase sponsored stories separately; instead, social context — stories about social actions your friends have taken, such as liking a page or checking in to a restaurant — is now eligible to appear next to all ads shown to friends on Facebook.”
The change will be radical, even if aesthetic. Facebook doesn’t give up its algorithms, and maybe change the shape of Sponsored Stores, which made the whopping of $230 million – to date — for the network.
Not even a year has elapsed from the last update of this advert created three years ago, on which Menlo Park based network has invested a lot. Hence the news comes as a surprising action, but the company has also been only paying millions of dollars of damage for privacy issues in the United States and other regions.
In August, Facebook ordered to pay $20 million to settle down a targeted advertising lawsuit. However, the network has given an understatement explanation, citing the shift in social ads thus avoiding controversy and the battles of the proceedings.
What will change on Facebook?
In practice, the sponsored stories may be republished / recycled to the new feed and columns devoted to advertising, without particular reference to user’s friends and likes and especially without integration of profile photo. But then again, the social graph and the ability to identify ideal advertising — depending on the activity and interests of the user — will obviously remain.