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You can hardly speak to someone without the ubiquitous Facebook coming up as a topic of conversation, especially if you’re in the “under 30” crowd. But the social networking site has spread like wildfire to the “30 something” crowd, too, with parents posting profiles right alongside their teenage and college-age children.

Most of us are aware of the dangers of the younger crowd posting lewd or inappropriate pictures to Facebook. However, there is now danger in posting innocent “family friendly” pictures to your profile, too. In fact, thanks to a relatively new Facebook decision, some users have been opted into a new ads program that places your image in select advertisements based on partnerships that Facebook has made. This is not a decision that Facebook users have consciously made, instead particular users have been selected by default based on “relevant social actions from a user’s friends”. Essentially, Facebook has become the new “big brother”, looking over your shoulder and your friends’ shoulders to monitor what social actions you perform on the site to “make advertisements more interesting and more tailored to you and your friends”.

While most Facebook users wouldn’t be too alarmed if they found their face serving as the poster child for Snickers candy bar or the World Wildlife Fund, most would have a problem if they found their image was being used for “Hot Singles” advertisements—especially if that person happened to be married. Cheryl Smith, a consultant, recently experienced this alarming new trend when her husband saw her picture on his computer screen as the face of the latest “Hot Singles” ad.

Users can opt out of this non-voluntary decision by visiting the “News Feed and Wall” section of their Facebook settings. For recently claiming to want to “improve the online environment” for their users, Facebook seems to have taken a step backwards. It’s best to remember to always use social networking sites wisely: just when you think you’ve made your profile safe for employers and co-workers to view, you might be surprised to find out who else is looking over your shoulder.

One Comment

  1. Gravatar for Mike Bryant

    That sounds crazy, hopefully it will be dealt with quickly, thanks for the helpful information.

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