On Facebook, your face can be used in ads (without you knowing it) via SocialMedia

Adland: 

There's a new social media ad service posse in town, their name is Socialmedia - 'the social advertising network'. Their twist? To use your face with their ads, which they'll show to your friends -

We believe displaying friend pictures and first names within Facebook ads makes the content more relevant for you, and that you benefit from seeing relevant ads rather than being exposed to ads that may not have any meaning to you.

Flickr user Jakerome is not keen on these banners and wonders if they're even legal:

I believe what you are doing violates users rights to control their image. If a company wants to use my image to sell a product, they need to get a model release or another written contract. If you do not have a model release on file, then you are opening yourself up to civil liability.

Good Point.

While Social media themselves have jumped into that thread and state: "we make it easy for users to opt out of this program. and we also try to ensure that the only people that show up in ads are those that "raise their hand" explicitly and want to share their preferences with their friends (which we enable via the ad layer)" whatever the hell that means. So they reckon that they're covered.

Can we all aree that it's creepy though? And it might even mess up our carefully constructed cool / social standing - if something like this showed up, I would be excluded from the Madonna hater club and stripped of my stripes. I don't see anything on Socialmedia that says this won't happen.

Though, since I will have nothing to do with evil old facebook, who just hired Ted Ullyot, former right-hand man to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, as its general counsel - it won't happen to me anyway. Hat Tip newmateria.

Related: People's profile images used in ads for Danish Politicians on Facebook

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Comments (20)

  • Goodbye's picture
    Goodbye

    If you try to opt out you get;

    You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near 'romlov AND socialNetwork = 'tracking'' at line 1....

    Wow..

    Oct 02, 2008
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Yeah, looks like it's asking for handles - which AFAIK facebook doesn't use. Rrrr..duh?

    Oct 02, 2008
  • aiiobo's picture
    aiiobo

    You keep giving us new reasons to leave facebook... yet I can not click away. I need help.

    I can't opt-out of this shit either. Creepy. What other sites are using it?

    Oct 02, 2008
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Just do this aiiobo; Login to your Facebook account, then click Account and from the Deactivate section choose Deactivate.

    The thing is that Facebook won’t actually wipe out your account but just keep it inactive. If you want to get your stuff out of their hands (even though you basically handed them everything you uploaded and wrote once you Okayed that scary-ass TOS of theirs) you want to do this:
    1 - Delete your photo
    2 -Delete all your photo albums
    3 - Delete your friends from your friends list.
    4 - Leave all your networks and groups you have joined.
    5 - Delete Comments and messages you wrote

    and then you'll be FREE!

    Oct 02, 2008
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Trying to find the answer to your question aiiobo I found that they are on Facebook, Bebo, hi5, MySpace, and OpenSocial. and oh this is precious:

    SocialMedia Networks Creative Services is an internal social advertising agency dedicated to ensuring the success of brand and performance advertisers on socialmedia. We offer a portfolio of services to help clients achieve maximum reach to their customer base through social platforms such as Facebook, Bebo, hi5, MySpace, and OpenSocial.

    Oct 02, 2008
  • deeped's picture
    deeped

    That have been around for somewhat very long haven't it?

    Oct 02, 2008
  • blabla's picture
    blabla

    I'm not sure I understand what you are saying. Have ads that use peoples likeness without them knowing it been around for a very long time?

    What are the model release laws regarding someones likeness used in advertising in the US vs the EU?

    Oct 03, 2008
  • aiiobo's picture
    aiiobo

    Don't I sign away the rights to my image/headshot in all of the above mentioned social networks? Does this clash with current advertising laws?

    on preview: deep.ed pardon?

    Oct 02, 2008
  • purplesimon's picture
    purplesimon

    Right, as if you're going to advertise Madonna!

    Oct 02, 2008
  • alex's picture
    alex

    *whisper* which one's Madonna?

    Oct 02, 2008
  • malar99's picture
    malar99

    Ohh mazn. So it´s not enough with deactivating the account you´ll have to manually delete everything. *sigh*

    Oct 02, 2008
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Only if you're utterly paranoid. You can leave it at deleting images and then deactivate.

    Oct 03, 2008
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    I'm trying to find in Facebook TOS anything about model release - I can see that the images you upload there can be used any way FB wants, basically (which is one of the reasons I'm quite anti-FB, at least don't put any photos up there). I haven't found any section (yet) that permits use of likeness or something like that. Anyone else?

    the FB TOS

    By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing.

    Oct 03, 2008
  • blabla's picture
    blabla

    Thanks Dabitch for explaining model release in Sweden over in the Jill Greenberg thread. I've been clicking around the terms of service at FB and I can not find anywhere where I sign away the rights to use my likeness in advertising. Anyone here better at reading legalease?

    Oct 03, 2008
  • kamari's picture
    kamari

    I'll be the first to admit that I don't understand half of that TOS, though I get the core is FACEBOOK OWNS EVERYTHING and I resent that.

    I understand that they might have to say some of that in order to be able to host and display the images but it seems excessively aggressive if you compare to similar services TOS.

    Also, can someone here answer this question: Can a terms of service or contract break country law? If FB's TOS says "we can use your image in advertising", can that suddenly be legal, considering most countries have laws against using peoples likeness in advertising without their consent?

    Oct 04, 2008
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    That's a really good question. IANAL.

    Aug 06, 2009
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Update: Socialmedia ads can now be found on Myspace and all IDG (International Data Group) properties as well.

    Oct 01, 2009
  • AnonymousSUPERMAN!'s picture
    AnonymousSUPERMAN! (not verified)

    prediction: waterboarding will be the new "poke"

    LOL! you're one funny lady.

    May 10, 2011

Leave a comment