Facebook sought to calm users’ fears about the news that sponsored stories would be added to the news feed by posting a link at the top of the homepage directing users to a page that explains advertising on the social network.
About advertising on Facebook describes how targeted ads on Facebook work, what sponsored stories are, and why the social network accepsadvertising in the first place.
The answer to the latter seems fairly obvious:
From the beginning, the people who built Facebook wanted it to be free for everyone. It now costs more than $1 billion per year to run Facebook, and delivering ads is how Facebook pays for this.
The page also stresses that advertisers choose what types of users should see their ads, and that users who find ads that don’t interest them can click the X to remove them.
As for the difference between sponsored stories and other types of ads, Facebook explains:
Facebook ads: A business creates an ad to promote its message. If you’ve liked that business’ page, the story about you liking the page (including your name or profile photo) may be paired with the ad your friends see.
Sponsored stories: A business pays Facebook to feature existing posts and activity that mention the business. Sponsored stories don’t include additional messaging from the sponsor. Like Facebook ads, they’re only visible to friends you’ve already shared this information with.
And Facebook also addresses remaining concerns about whether Facebook sells members’ personal data:
Selling your information would actually be bad for Facebook. Here’s why: Facebook was created to help you share and connect with the people in your life. If you don’t feel like you’re in control of who sees what you share, you probably won’t use Facebook as much, and you’ll share less with your friends. Not only is that bad for Facebook, it’s also bad for you. That’s why only the people you choose to share with see your stuff.
Readers: Does this help clear up any confusion you might have had?