Yes, Facebook can use your image within advertisements on their site but not the ones that DownloadSquad illustrates in their article about whoring out user photos. The information used for the photos were scraped while accessing Facebook applications by a third-party ad network that most likely violated Facebook’s terms of service. It’s a serious problem and one that I’ve highlighted many times.
Following Download Squad’s instructions will not solve the problem. That’s because ad networks do not check to see the setting that Download Squad explains how to modify. This misunderstanding is now creating a substantial amount of buzz and even Mashable has misinterpreted the policies set forth by Facebook. The result is that tons of people on Twitter are now talking about this questionable policy.
Facebook has been using your photos in ads on the sidebar for a long time now but not in the ways illustrated in these photos (picture below). It’s a challenging issue for Facebook who has been in ongoing discussions with all ad networks on their platform. Should third-party ad networks be able to use users’ photos? Currently it is ok as long as user data is not being cached.
Unfortunately many ad networks do cache data although we’ve already seen some of those ad networks shut down. The issue is ongoing and there have even been extreme cases where user photos have shown up on sites outside of Facebook. Facebook attempts to aggressively enforce their policies but the issue presents a challenging dilemma.
If Facebook decides to get aggressive on ad networks we could see the revenue of many applications fall to practically nothing. That’s because using a friend’s photo in an advertisement dramatically increases click through rates. While the other sites have gotten the story a little wrong, there’s no doubt that the issue has been brought to the forefront.
What do you think Facebook’s policy should be about using your photos in advertisements? How about allowing third-party ad networks to display your photos in ads?