Well it took millions of users complaining and lawsuits resulting in over $20 million in losses for Facebook, but Facebook is getting rid of the highly controversial Sponsored Stories on their platform. What does this mean for the consumer and for businesses using Facebook?
What This Means for the Consumer
You can like a page without the chance of ending up in an advertisement. Let’s say that your friend Mike likes Walmart on Facebook. If Walmart paid for sponsored stories through Facebook, either your sidebar or your regular feed would should the Walmart ad, and it could show Mike’s picture and name on the advertisement. The court system found this to be a violation of privacy, and it was settled that users will get more control over what information Facebook can use on their behalf. Facebook can no longer use your information as a Sponsored Story, and in theory should keep your information more private.
What This Means for Businesses
On April 9th, sponsored stories will no longer be available for purchase. Facebook stated in a their blog, “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.” This means that marketers will still need to view how many people are liking your page and interacting with it. These types of updates will just be shown to Facebook users without the companies paying for them.
Overall, it will be interesting to watch how much this could really change the game for Facebook users and social media marketers. Only time will tell what the new social context will look like, and how businesses will need to use it.