Facebook rule change lets brands display users' profile info in ads

Facebook: social network revises its privacy rules
Facebook: social network revises its privacy rules

Facebook has rewritten its privacy rules to allow advertisers to use people's profile pictures and information in ads without providing any compensation to the user.

The changes come into force today and follow on from a legal settlement earlier in the week that required Facebook to pay out $20m for the use of members’ names and pictures without their consent.

Prior to the change in the rules, users were allowed to use privacy settings to "limit how your name and profile picture may be associated with commercial content".

Facebook has reworded the clause to state "you give us permission to use your name, profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content".

In effect, this will mean advertisers can use people’s profile information in ads without compensating the Facebook user, unless they have selected to restrict content or information to a specific audience.

Users who are under 18 will also be able to have their information used in ads because the clause, below, states at least one of their parents or legal guardians has automatically agreed to the terms of the section.

Facebook said the update to its advertising rules is the result of the legal settlement and is designed to "further explain how we may use your name, profile picture, content and information".

The news is reminiscent of Facebook-owned Instagram changing its rules around how users’ content was used in ads, before being forced into an immediate u-turn by a social media backlash.

Instagram unsuccessfully attempted to change its rules to state "to help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos and/or actions you take…without any compensation to you".

A Facebook spokesman said: "As part of this proposed update, we revised our explanation of how things like your name, profile picture and content may be used in connection with ads or commercial content to make it clear that you are granting Facebook permission for this use when you use our services.

"We have not changed our ads practices or policies – we only made things clearer for people who use our service."

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