Facebook Puts Sponsored Stories Into News Feed And Calls Them Featured Stories

By David Cohen Comment

Brace yourself for the wave of complaints that will surely come: As previously announced, Facebook began to add sponsored stories to users’ news feeds Tuesday.

The sponsored stories contain an indication next to the time stamp that the post is “featured,” and users need not worry about random ad content infiltrating their news feeds, as the only sponsored stories they will see are from pages they have already liked.

Content from pages users’ friends have liked and interacted with may appear, as well, but advertisers cannot alter the messages included with that content.

Sister blog Inside Facebook reported that Facebook will initially limit sponsored stories in the news feed to one per day, and they will not appear when the social network is accessed on mobile devices.

TechCrunch took issue with the language being used by Facebook, saying that “featured” doesn’t denote that the content is paid advertising, and that posts labeled with that word could be mistaken for popular content.

Inside Facebook also reported that Facebook teamed up with sandwich chain Which Wich to test the offering of coupons to users who have liked the Which Wich page. As of late Tuesday, more than 4,300 of the chain’s 104,000-plus Facebook fans had claimed a coupon for a free 22-ounce soft drink with the purchase of a sandwich. We wonder if coupons will be an option for featured stories at some point in the future.

Facebook updated the featured stories section of its help center, and some highlights follow:

How will I know if a story is featured? How often will I see featured stories? Featured stories will be labeled as featured. Most people will only see about one featured story per day. If you visit your news feed a lot, you may see more. Note: Featured stories were previously called sponsored stories.

How do I stop seeing featured stories? Featured stories are just like the other posts you see, which means you can: Click hide to remove individual stories; limit the volume of stories you see from a specific friend to only important posts; or stop seeing certain kinds of stories altogether– just unfriend the person or unlike the page

Will any of my stories be featured? Some of your stories may be featured. But you always determine who can see the stories you share. If a story does get featured, it’s shown to the same people you originally shared it with.

Who can pay to feature stories? Businesses, organizations and individual people can pay to feature stories. For example, the owner of a local coffee shop can feature stories about people who like that shop’s page. Remember: If a story does get featured, it’s shown to the same people you originally shared it with.

Readers: Have you started to see any of these featured stories in your news feeds?