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

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[tm].

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 [his resumé - the torture memo and other illustrious projects - prediction: waterboarding will be the new "poke"] - it won't happen to me anyway. Hat Tip newmateria.

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

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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Goodbye's picture

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....


Dabitch's picture

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

aiiobo's picture

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?

Dabitch's picture

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!

Dabitch's picture

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.

deeped's picture

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

blabla's picture

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?

aiiobo's picture

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?

purplesimon's picture

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

alex's picture

*whisper* which one's Madonna?

Allan1's picture

NOT the green-eyed one!

malar99's picture

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

Dabitch's picture

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

Dabitch's picture

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.

blabla's picture

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?

Dabitch's picture

I tried, couldn't find anything either. Full FACEBOOK terms of service here for other brave souls to read through. My eyes are bleeding now.

kamari's picture

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?

Dabitch's picture

That's a really good question. IANAL.

Dabitch's picture

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

AnonymousSUPERMAN!'s picture

prediction: waterboarding will be the new "poke"

LOL! you're one funny lady.