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Should Facebook 'Likes' Count As Commercial Endorsements?

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the like-it-or-not dept.

Facebook 189

Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes: "Facebook settled out of court over displaying ads that told you which of your friends had 'liked' a product or service, and another lawsuit is currently pending over the use of minors' pictures specifically in similar ads. (Not to be confused with another recently filed lawsuit alleging that Facebook converts private messages into public 'likes'.) Google+ tried to limit its liability by only showing the faces of users over 18 when showing which friends 'like' a page. I'm all for more privacy for social networking users, and if it's true that Facebook has been silently marking users as publicly 'liking' a page because they mentioned the page in a private message, the plaintiff's lawyers ought to clean them out for that one. But in cases where you willingly and knowingly 'liked' a page, Facebook and Google+ ought to be able to tell that to your friends in advertisements, without being sued for it." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

The rationale for the case against the Facebook 'your-friends-have-liked-this' ads, seems to be that Facebook is violating laws and social norms against using someone's image in a commercial endorsement without their permission. But I can only think of two reasons for why those laws and social norms exist, and neither of those reasons would seem to apply to Facebook 'likes.' The two main reasons that come to mind are (1) loss of control over one's image, and (2) the creation of the false impression that the company has paid for a product endorsement.

Consider first the issue of the loss of control over your image. You would probably be annoyed if a company took a picture of your face and started featuring it prominently in their advertisements without your permission. (If you had taken the photo yourself, then the company would of course also be on the hook for copyright infringement, but let's assume that the company had one of their photographers take the photo so that they owned the copyright, and the only issue is the unfair use of your likeness.) At that point, you have no control over the dissemination of the picture. Even assuming that you like the way you look in the picture, you might find it creepy to think of thousands of strangers looking at the photo of you (or your kids). That would be an argument in favor of requiring companies to get people's permission before using their likenesses in advertisements.

But that argument would not apply to an ad in your Facebook feed which shows you the profile pictures of friends who have 'liked' a page. Those profile pictures were uploaded by those users expressly so that their Facebook friends could see them. At any time, they can select a different 'profile picture', or remove any profile pictures that they no longer wish to be visible to friends. (Facebook took a lot of well-deserved criticism for exposing users' profiles and pictures to non-friends, as well, even for users who have disabled that setting — but that's a separate issue. The "ads" in question only display your pictures to your friends.)

Second, consider the issue of creating the false impression of a paid product endorsement. With traditional advertisements, it might seem strange that people respond to ads featuring a nice, attractive-but-not-in-your-face-attractive person using a product, even if the photo doesn't seem to directly convey any information about the product itself. What the photo really conveys is that the company behind the product has resources — to hire models, photographers, lighting crews, photo editors, and of course to buy the space to display the ad. This ostentatious display of "resources" might reassure a customer that the company similarly has the resources to test their product thoroughly, to replace a product that breaks, or to honor their returns policy. But it only works if the user believes that the company actually did spend money on all of those things to create the ad.

This is even more true of ads featuring paid celebrities. Steven Landsburg, in a passage from his book The Armchair Economist, writes:

"[I]t is also common to see products endorsed by celebrities who have no particular expertise, and who are obviously being paid for their testimony. Well-known actresses endorse health clubs; ex-politicians endorse luggage; in Massachusetts recently, a Nobel prize-winning economist endorsed automobile tires. People respond to these ads, and sales increase. What useful information can there be in knowing that the manufacturer of your overnight bag paid a six-figure fee to feature a famous person in a television commercial? How can it be rational to choose your luggage on this basis?

Let me suggest an answer. [...] Hiring a celebrity to endorse your product is like posting a bond. The firm makes a substantial investment up front and reaps returns over a long period of time. A firm that expects to disappear in a year won't make such an investment. When I see a celebrity endorsement, I know that the firm has enough confidence in the quality of its product to expect to be around awhile.

(The full argument is in the text of The Armchair Economist on Scribd, although you've probably got the idea.)

However, none of this applies to your friend's profile picture appearing in an ad in your Facebook feed. No rational person would think that meant that the friend had been paid for the endorsement, so the ad doesn't falsely convey anything about the company's "resources." (All you really know is that the company paid some money to buy the ad — but, unlike a print ad that appears in a national magazine, you have no idea how much they spent to promote their brand on Facebook just because you happen to be seeing the promotion.) The valuable information conveyed in the ad is just what it seems — at least one of your friends thought the company or product was cool enough to 'like' it.

(This argument does leave an interesting case uncovered. What if a real recognizable celebrity 'liked' a page on Facebook, and that company paid for a flurry of ads in people's Facebook feeds prominently featuring the celebrity's likeness, truthfully claiming that the celebrity liked their product, but without paying the celebrity? I don't happen to know of any real-life case where a company found out that a celebrity actually used their product, and then started advertising the fact that their product was used by that celebrity without actually paying the celebrity, using the defense that all they were doing was stating a true fact. (Tell me in the comments if you know if that's happened.) However, Facebook seems to have ducked that issue for now, because virtually no actual celebrities have regular user profiles on Facebook; they have official fan pages, clearly demarcating the line between "them" and "us." So the sponsored ads are not likely to include a real celebrity's likeness any time soon.)

Fundamentally, if an 'ad' appears in your Facebook feed telling you that some of your friends 'liked' a page, all that ad is doing is stating a true fact, something that Facebook ought to be allowed to do under the First Amendment. I don't agree with Mitt Romney that "corporations are people too, my friend," but they do have First Amendment rights, which I would argue should include the right to tell you if friends of yours have publicly indicated that they like a product or service.

One currently pending lawsuit against Facebook makes much of the fact that Facebook's ads were displaying the profile pictures of minors, and that California law requires the permission of a minor's parents to use their likeness in an ad. But when that law was drafted, the authors probably had in mind the kind of traditional advertisements that raise the two concerns above — where (1) the minor and their family lose control over the dissemination of their image, and (2) the use of the likeness creates the false impression of a paid advertisement. It's not obvious that they would have considered the law to apply to a note in your Facebook feed telling you that your friend had liked a page. To the extent that the law could be interpreted to prohibit those kinds of notifications, that's arguably a violation of Facebook's First Amendment rights.

Of course, I've made this argument by assuming that the two reasons listed at the top are the only reasons that a company should be required to get people's permission before using their likeness in advertisements, and that if those reasons don't apply to Facebook 'likes,' then the permission requirement should not apply. But there may be other reasons besides those two, reasons that would also apply to ads listing Facebook 'likes,' and then that would invalidate the argument. But in the meantime, even though I don't use Facebook, if I did, I'd tentatively be fine with Facebook showing my profile picture in 'ads' to friends listing me as one of a group of people who had 'liked' a particular page.

On the other hand, if Facebook is really scanning your private messages for mentions of a particular page, and then automatically indicating on your profile that you 'like' that page, then yes, that means that any 'likes' acquired in that manner were not intended by the user to be public, and yes, that changes everything.

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Fuck off, Bennett (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890279)

Another Bennett wall of text. Does anyone actually read these?

I'm surprised he didn't insert his whining about being rightfully pegged as a spammer.

Re:Fuck off, Bennett (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890887)

tl;dr = tl;dr

Re:Fuck off, Bennett (1)

east coast (590680) | about 9 months ago | (#45890897)

Let off some steam, Bennett.

Re:Fuck off, Bennett (0)

bennetthaselton (1016233) | about 9 months ago | (#45891177)

I read to the third word of your comment and stopped reading. Argh, WORDS!

Re:Fuck off, Bennett (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891357)

See? He needs all those words to avoid straw man arguments.

Re:Fuck off, Bennett (4, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 9 months ago | (#45891485)

Why the heck are you still allowed to post on /.? Do you have juicy pictures of someone at Dice? Are you someone's nephew?

We already know your views on every topic: whatever gives the powerful central authority even more power is what BH wants. You sure waste a lot of words in saying that, and very few here love totalitarianism the way you do, so how do you manage to twist Dice's arm?

Damn, and this is just one more comment on a BH thread. I should be ashamed for doing anything but ignoring it, but I just couldn't help myself.

Re:Fuck off, Bennett (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891697)

Fuck you, Bennett. You still haven't learned any editorial skills whatsoever, and you primarily need to learn that you should make your fucking point and then stop writing. You write too much, with too little substance, and with apparent lack of understanding of almost everything you write an opinion piece about. Go back to doing math or something else that you're good at, because you fucking SUCK at writing.

Maybe you could write about the real reasons behind your resignation from Microsoft instead of just a copy of your personnel file - that would actually be a piece that people might want to read.

Re:Fuck off, Bennett (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891345)

+1 like

Re:Fuck off, Bennett (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 9 months ago | (#45891519)

Where's the "onoitsbennett" tag?

Ummmm .... (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#45890291)

(2) the creation of the false impression that the company has paid for a product endorsement.

They have paid for a product endorsement. They just haven't paid you.

But, joking aside, I believe it should be illegal to use my name or image to endorse a product without me being explicitly asked, and compensated. Anything else is a fraudulent use of my name.

Oh, and Mark Zuckerberg is a douchebag.

Re:Ummmm .... (2)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | about 9 months ago | (#45890351)

It would be if you trademarked your face. Trademark your face / image and you could sue facebook for trademark infringement.

Re:Ummmm .... (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#45890513)

You know, using my name or likeness without my permission for any reason shouldn't require trademark.

It should be illegal to begin with -- because if you never asked me, you should have no bloody expectation you can legally do it.

I, for instance, could not use Zuckerfuck's likeness to endorse adult diapers with built-in butt plugs.

But somehow I'm expected to believe his EULA grants him the right to do this? I think not.

Re:Ummmm .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890873)

You know, using my name or likeness without my permission for any reason shouldn't require trademark.

It should be illegal to begin with -- because if you never asked me, you should have no bloody expectation you can legally do it.

So it should be illegal to run news stories about anyone without their approval. Or you didn't think your position through. One of those.

Re:Ummmm .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890945)

I, for instance, could not use Zuckerfuck's likeness to endorse adult diapers with built-in butt plugs.

Would those be called "Dry, Butt..." adult diapers?

Still don't understand the lure of "liking" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890553)

Since the day the marketing term "like" was introduced by the corporation in question, I have understood this "liking" to be -- when boiled down to the root -- work. With that in mind, why in the world would a person want to work, for free, for the benefit of a multi-billion dollar corporation? By not "liking" anything, am I missing out on something -- anything -- other than unpaid work?

Re:Ummmm .... (4, Insightful)

rjstanford (69735) | about 9 months ago | (#45890637)

Then why on earth did you "Like" the product, if you didn't want your friends to see that you "Liked" the product? Same comment but louder if you reviewed it.

I agree with the sentiment - if they're pretending you "Liked" something when you just mentioned it, that's bad. But the whole point - indeed, the only point - of giving something a "Like" is to share your opinion with others. Don't pretend to be surprised when the sharing happens.

Re:Ummmm .... (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 9 months ago | (#45890745)

Never having used facebook (or even successfully viewed a page on it, when I've ended up following fb links, I've been served nothing but a login screen, which is quite useless), I might not have this right, but as far as I've read when you "like", you're only liking a single message - such as a funny advertising image/video. And whilst you may like that single image/vid, that should not be taken as endorsing the product being advertised. So you didn't actually ``"Like" the product'' /per se/.

Re:Ummmm .... (3, Informative)

rjstanford (69735) | about 9 months ago | (#45890973)

You can like a "page" (concept/business/celebrity/etc), a comment made by a page or an individual, or a response-comment made by a page or an individual. The only ones that I've ever even heard of showing up as "likes" in the "Your friend Bob likes GreaseBurgers!" sense are the first sort in that list. Facebook does provide another, easily ignored "chatter" type stream that might show you "Bob likes GreaseBurger's comment 'Cholesterol is a government conspiracy'" but they always clearly differentiate the two ideas.

Re:Ummmm .... (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 9 months ago | (#45891301)

OK, thanks for that. I do remember a story very much like this one coming up a few years ago, and that time it was framed as suckers liking adverts (and the misinterpretation of that as endorsing the product).

From my position of almost total ignorance and not giving flying monkey bollock, I'd say that once a sucker's asked facebook to associate himself with a business or celebrity, then he's given permission for facebook to associate that business or celebrity with you. And the fact that association is called "like" (localised too, so no excuses for foreigners), should be a clue that that association will be presented in a positive light.

Maybe there should be a "stalk" option which lets you follow updates on a page without being associated with it. (As some have said that they like to keep tabs on enemies, which seems to be rather a waste of energy, and almost certainly gives the enemy too many "strokes" in TA terms, which will only encourage them.)

Re:Ummmm .... (4, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#45890747)

But the whole point - indeed, the only point - of giving something a "Like" is to share your opinion with others. Don't pretend to be surprised when the sharing happens.

No, that's an interpretation, but it isn't a correct one.

If I like something on Facebook, it's because I would like to see their future updates. Period.

It isn't a commercial endorsement, and I don't necessarily want everybody I know to be informed of that fact (and I sure as hell don't give a damn that my Aunt has Liked "Cute Cat Pictures Volume 693").

Re:Ummmm .... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890825)

It's no interpretation. It's spelled out in the ToS you agreed to. Maybe you should have read it?

Re:Ummmm .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890991)

Amazingly, "it's in the ToS" is not a magical phrase that automatically makes something okay.

Re:Ummmm .... (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 9 months ago | (#45891079)

They didn't say it was ok. Simply that the statement is not an "interpretation" as it's explicitly stated in the TOS how they treat likes.

Re:Ummmm .... (1)

rjstanford (69735) | about 9 months ago | (#45890921)

If I like something on Facebook, it's because I would like to see their future updates. Period.

And the "cost" of having an expensive third-party distribution network to provide those same updates to you is that your request is semi-public knowledge (in that you self-select the group of friends who can see it). Not unreasonable, methinks, and spelled out in both the letter and the spirit of your relationship with FB.

Re:Ummmm .... (4, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 9 months ago | (#45891099)

But the whole point - indeed, the only point - of giving something a "Like" is to share your opinion with others. Don't pretend to be surprised when the sharing happens.

No, that's an interpretation, but it isn't a correct one.

If I like something on Facebook, it's because I would like to see their future updates. Period.

Seriously? That's how you interpret clicking the "like" button in a social network which is specifically and from the very beginning designed to share stuff with other people? And you think he has the wrong interpretation?

Well, that's certainly an... interesting position to take.

Re:Ummmm .... (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891421)

GP is right: "Like" on Facebook pages actually means "follow"/"subscribe". It's just obnoxiously named.

Re:Ummmm .... (5, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about 9 months ago | (#45890885)

Except like doesn't always mean like.

You have to like a group or product just to be able to post on the page about it and be part of the discussion. So, if I see something I don't like, if I see a product that is a scam or that didn't work as advertised, I can't even post in a group discussing it unless i hit "like"

In short, they took other concepts like "subscribe", conflated them into their "like" button and now are trying to claim that because you hit the button called "like" that you actually like whatever it is.

This would be a little like me replacing my doorbell with a button that says "I love surprise anal sex", and then publishing pictures of everyone who comes to visit me with the slogan "These people love surprise anal sex". Does that really seem legit?

Re:Ummmm .... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 9 months ago | (#45891063)

You have to like a group or product just to be able to post on the page about it and be part of the discussion. So, if I see something I don't like, if I see a product that is a scam or that didn't work as advertised, I can't even post in a group discussing it unless i hit "like"

Facebook might argue thusly:

* You don't have a right to post on a page.
* Facebook restricts posting on a page to people who like that page. (literal sense).
* People who 'like' a page who don't really like the page, are clicking the 'like' button fraudulently.
* There is no contractual obligation to protect the interests of users who are fraudulently using the service.

Re:Ummmm .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891149)

I might argue thusly:

- Facebook don't have an inherent right to demand that I protect their private property;
- But, as long as they abide by society's rules, we'll protect it;
- People who "like" a page are clearly not knowingly and willingly providing commercial endorsement;
- So, if Facebook wants to operate within society, it mustn't rely on lawyer games to claim otherwise.

Re:Ummmm .... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 9 months ago | (#45891259)

They might argue that, and they might have every right to suspend my account for doing so.

However, I don't see how that adds up to a reasonable expectation, especially since this sees no enfocrement whatsoever, that people who like a page actually litterally like it. Any such claim would do little more than display their own ignorance as to how their own service is actually used.

Seeing as there is no enforcement, and it is rather common for people to use the like button other than in this manner, I don't see how this adds up to any implication of consent in the use of my or anyone else's likeness in advertising.

Re:Ummmm .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891477)

So first they had a EULA. Not good enough consent.
Then they had you actually click on a clearly-labeled button every single time. Not good enough consent.

Now "how their own service is actually used" is Facebook's problem? They have to read your mind, or send lawyers to your house with lie detectors?

Re:Ummmm .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891231)

sometimes you need to like a post in order to get a coupon or further info about whatever it is they are advertising on their page.

Re:Ummmm .... (1)

iplayfast (166447) | about 9 months ago | (#45890659)

Except for the Mark Zuckerberg comment (I don't know him personally) I totally agree with you.
If they had a dislike would they use that for anti-endorsements?

Re:Ummmm .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890707)

You expressly agreed to this usage when you continued to use FB. These cases end up getting changed to a FB-friendly venue, or just dismissed outright with prejudice.

TOS and EULAs hold up in court extremely well. In fact, there has never been a case where one has ever been stuck down, even EULAs with a provision that the software has the capability to physically destroy the hardware it is running on if the software flagged itself was stolen/unauthorized.

If FB stated that they could claim complete ownership of any device their stuff ran on, then physically came to take the smartphone, tablet, or computer, that is within their right.

If you don't like it, stop agreeing to stupid contracts.

Ummmm .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890727)

I believe it should be illegal to use my name or image to endorse a product without me being explicitly asked, and compensated

Assuming you are a facebook user, you signed the contract - the EULA - that said Facebook can do this with out having to compensate you.

If you aren't then, I agree.

Re:Ummmm .... (1)

EvilSS (557649) | about 9 months ago | (#45890811)

But, joking aside, I believe it should be illegal to use my name or image to endorse a product without me being explicitly asked, and compensated.

It usually is. It's one of the few times you do have some control over your own image. There may be something hidden in their TOS that you are signing away that right as a user though.

Re:Ummmm .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891275)

> I believe it should be illegal to use my name or image to endorse a product without me being explicitly asked, and compensated. Anything else is a fraudulent use of my name.

Sigh... as if they cant just slip that into their TOS.

"Willingly and Knowingly" (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 9 months ago | (#45890323)

Aye, there's the rub.

WTF does willingly and knowingly mean? BS weasel words, in this context.

Many "Likes" are like a cheap "Cash for Comment" (1)

ivi (126837) | about 9 months ago | (#45890333)

So, everybody likes a deal, &
few resist giving a false "Like"
in response to a freebie or big discount on something they want.

Therefore, many / most "Likes" are meaningless CfC's. IMO.

Re:Many "Likes" are like a cheap "Cash for Comment (2)

Mitreya (579078) | about 9 months ago | (#45890579)

Therefore, many / most "Likes" are meaningless CfC's. IMO.

Particularly meaningless without "DisLikes".

What does 100 "Likes" mean without knowing if there are 10 "DisLikes" or 1000 "DisLikes" that go with it?

Still not deep enough? (4, Insightful)

furbyhater (969847) | about 9 months ago | (#45890343)

Stop using facebook. Now.

It's their site who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890361)

Don't use it if you don't like it

Bookmarks (2)

Allicorn (175921) | about 9 months ago | (#45890365)

Or maybe "like" is an term with no formal meaning here and I'm just "liking" page because that's what we call "bookmarks" on this particular website. Or "favorites", or "starred", or whatever. I might even be "liking" the page because I want to remember what a bunch of douchebags the associated outfit have been to me or my family in the past and want to keep an eye on their marketing babble so that I can warn friends/family not to be caught out by it.

When I "favorite" a website in Internet Explorer, nobody thinks it implies I commercially endorse whatever organization's page it was. Why should a "like" infer that.

Of course in practice I firewall Facebook at the router.

Facebook is the worst (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890387)

I can't wait for the trend of social networking to be over.

Re:Facebook is the worst (2)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 9 months ago | (#45890415)

The whole 'internet' thing is just a fad too.

"like" and "friend" meanings are confusing (5, Insightful)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 9 months ago | (#45890393)

FB uses the tern "friend" to describe someone with whom you wish to have some level of communication, not someone who fits the conventional definition of "friend". The action of "like" is used in FB to indicate an acknowledgement of some post, not necessarily approval - I've seen people "like" posts about horrific events.

To further confuse things, companies will collect "inappropriate" likes. Some vendor vendor posts a picture of a cute kitten. People "like" the picture in the hopes that their friends will see it as well. That "like" in no way indicates that they actually recommend the (often completely unrelated) product. Sometimes it isn't even obvious to users that they are endorsing a commercial product.

This leads to a rather confusing landscape where people (who are not actually friends), are listed as "liking" a product that they do not in any way actually endorse. Whether advertising that "your friends like this product" is deceptive or not depends on whether you are using the conventional or FB definitions of "friends" and "like".

Personally I completely ignore this sort of endorsement because I understand what it really means (which is nothing). I make an effort to avoid "liking" any commercial links to avoid giving the impression that I endorse their products.

Re:"like" and "friend" meanings are confusing (2, Funny)

rjstanford (69735) | about 9 months ago | (#45890661)

Some vendor vendor posts a picture of a cute kitten. People "like" the picture in the hopes that their friends will see it as well. That "like" in no way indicates that they actually recommend the (often completely unrelated) product.

Aha - I have a solution! Facebook should create, at their own expense, a "Share" button that works orthogonally to the "Like" button. It could even sit next to it to avoid confusion so that people aiming at one would see the other and be able to decide which better indicates their sentiment. Would that meet your requirements, good sir?

Re:"like" and "friend" meanings are confusing (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 9 months ago | (#45890705)

Until I can also register a "dislike" of a product or service, Facecrap has no business thinking I endorse anything.

So what should "like" mean? (1)

Chemisor (97276) | about 9 months ago | (#45890767)

If "like" does not mean an endorsement, what does it mean? Why would you "like" anything if not to tell your friends that you did and that you want them to do likewise? To me it is pretty clear that "like" is an explicit endorsement. The argument about what exactly it is I am endorsing concerns the target of the action, not the action itself. I really can not see how anybody could mistake it for "acknowledge" or "bookmark".

Re:"like" and "friend" meanings are confusing (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 9 months ago | (#45891555)

The worst is when your 'like' becomes a commercial thing after the fact.

For example, I marked that I 'like' chess. Later, that somehow become owned by chess.com, which is a completely different matter.

California right to publicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890413)

Every time I read law stuff here, I wish I weren't a lawyer.

Anyway, Facebook's "like" ads are not substantially different from the facts in White v. Samsung Electronics: it was “not important how the defendant has appropriated the plaintiff’s identity, but whether the defendant has done so.”

BLAH BLAH BLAH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890417)

Bleep blorp blippity blop I don't know fuck all yet I must write a whole lot of stuff about the piffly fuck all I know about

because my name is benet haseltan and I don't believe in privacy or the fourth amendment. All hail face buck.

I don't always *like* because I like something. (2)

t0qer (230538) | about 9 months ago | (#45890433)

Sometimes I *like* something because I want to follow it. I might not like some of my local politicians, but I still like their pages just so I can follow what train wreck policy they might be putting to a vote that week. Liking it makes it conveniently show up on my newsfeed.

Re:I don't always *like* because I like something. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890831)

That is why I like Google+. You have the +1 to like and the option to follow or no +1 and just follow.

What is a "Like" worth? (2)

Carcass666 (539381) | about 9 months ago | (#45890435)

A lot of commercial "likes" are generated as opt-ins to contests and the like. For example, a local news channel will instruct its viewers to like a certain Facebook page to be eligible to win something. To me, the commercial value of a "like" would be low, I don't know of anybody who says "I will buy XXX instead of YYY because they have more likes on their Facebook page" (or more followers on Twitter, whatever). I don't ses the ROI on social media engagement, unless you are a marketing firm or consultancy charging by the project or hour.

Re:What is a "Like" worth? (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#45890559)

I don't ses the ROI on social media engagement, unless you are a marketing firm or consultancy charging by the project or hour.

My guess is there's little empirical evidence to suggest there's much (or any) ROI.

But, marketing wankers being what they are, have decided social media is the new thing, and they will use that as much as they can.

The fact that there are companies who you can pay to get you more followers on Twitter or fake friends on Facebook pretty much sums up its value.

But it's also hard to deny seeing the Facebook and Twitter logos on damned near everything these days. People clearly believe it works and provides value.

Re:What is a "Like" worth? (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 9 months ago | (#45890915)

A few local pubs and live music venues offer discounts, for many of their events to those who have "like"d that venue/event. For them, it's hard for it to have anything apart from negative value. Unless those "like"ing them are so fickle that they wouldn't turn up if it were a euro more. But is that really the kind of market you want to rely on and cater to?

Re:What is a "Like" worth? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#45891211)

For them, it's hard for it to have anything apart from negative value.

Tough to say ... sometimes giving discounts nets you more in the long run because people come in and spend money.

Loss leaders and discounts can still be profitable.

Example of uncompensated "endorsement" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890445)

It's rarely done because the celebrity, without a contract preventing such a thing, can publicly state that they do not endorse (or possibly even like) your product after you've spent significant money on the advertising.

However, here is a case where a company featured President Obama simply wearing their brand of coat. After only 3 days, the company was asked to remove it. No lawsuit, no laws broken. Just a reminder that the President did not and would not endorse their product. The company wasted their money.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/01/08/obama.billboard/

Re:Example of uncompensated "endorsement" (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 9 months ago | (#45891493)

The company wasted their money.

Did they though? Ok they didn't get to leave the poster up as long as they planned but they did get a news article written about them drawing attention to the fact that obama wore their products. And presumablly they can put a different billboard up in the space so they probablly haven't wasted the money they paid for the space (which I would guess is the most expensive part of putting up adverts in manhatten)

Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890455)

But only if 'not like' is an option. Fair is fair.

That depends on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890485)

For pure B2C/B2B eCommerce - yes
For traditional B2C/B2B eCommerce - maybe
Everyone else, including all those brick and mortar businesses with facebook pages - No

Example? Steam vs Amazon.com vs Starbucks Singapore
PS: They are just liking it to get free Wifi

Catching on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890521)

Facetweet socnet sheep really had no idea what was going on. It was just numbers scrolling by, right? Like the Matrix?

But now it's so blatant and dumbed down that they realize and freak out. Poor things really thought they were in control. It's a whole new reason not to let them behind the curtain: They'd be blinded ala Plato's cave.

Not if what you "liked" was a private page!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890527)

But in cases where you willingly and knowingly 'liked' a page, Facebook and Google+ ought to be able to tell that to your friends in advertisements, without being sued for it."

So if I'm in a private thread on someone's non-public timeline, and I click "like" on some link my friend adds to his private dialogue with me on his timeline, which may be a political link or controversial or make sense only in that particular context, will what I did believing it private cease to be private without my knowledge or permission?

I don't think the parent understands how privacy really works on facebook. The way that you limit the audience of your comments and likes, is to ONLY comment and "like" things which already have a privacy scope that you approve of. For example if it says "Jeff's Friends" or "Jeff's Friends of Friends" or "Public" etc., you make an assumption prior to commenting or "liking" based on this information.

Is this implied contract being violated by facebook? Is it????

Re:Not if what you "liked" was a private page!!!!! (3, Interesting)

rjstanford (69735) | about 9 months ago | (#45890717)

So if I'm in a private thread on someone's non-public timeline, and I click "like" on some link my friend adds to his private dialogue with me on his timeline, which may be a political link or controversial or make sense only in that particular context, will what I did believing it private cease to be private without my knowledge or permission?

Why would you ever "Like" or "+1" something (in the official FB or Google sense) shared in a private conversation if you didn't want that information to become more public? You're in a conversation already FFS, you can just say "Hey, I agree." Using a social-media platform tool to indicate approval implies that you want that social-media platform tool to take some action - any action - on that click. Its well documented that even the publicly stated purpose of those platforms is to share the information that you give them with your "network."

WTF else do you expect the platform to do when you click "Like"? Wink slyly and say, "That one's just between the two of us, friend?"

Re:Not if what you "liked" was a private page!!!!! (1)

rhazz (2853871) | about 9 months ago | (#45891267)

Wink slyly and say, "That one's just between the two of us, friend?"

Why the hell does that have an Australian accent in my head?

Is like the same as advertise? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 9 months ago | (#45890581)

I may tell my friends that I like a particular restaurant, but that doesn't mean that I want that restaurant to pay one of my friends to wear my picture around his neck and tell all of the rest of my friends that I like the restaurant.

PROTIP FFS (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890597)

You can't be on social media and still claim to be a privacy advocate. One or the other. No one understands the meanings of these words anymore. Social media is just that: SOCIAL. If you want privacy, then you should probably not be on facebook, you blithering idiot.

Re:PROTIP FFS (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 9 months ago | (#45891459)

I don't think they are mutually exclusive. There's a difference between volunteering information about yourself and withholding information about yourself. Just because you are on social media, it doesn't mean you tell everyone everything there is to know about you. (Example, on social media I never mention what school district my kids go to.) There's also the situation that, if you give a company some private information that they say will remain private and then they make it public, that's a privacy violation. It doesn't matter if the company is a social media website or a brick-and-mortar store. If a place says that information will only be kept within the company and they don't do so, they should be taken to task for it, not let off the hook because some people are posting "selfies" at home with GPS data in the EXIF.

get a clue (2)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 9 months ago | (#45890631)

I'm all for more privacy for social networking users

What part of "social network" does Bennett not understand? If you use these damn "services" then you should expect them to be doing shit like this. I'm much more concerned that almost every site that I visit lately sends traffic to Facebook and lets them track information about me, even though I have never and will never use facebook.

Re:get a clue (2)

ah.clem (147626) | about 9 months ago | (#45890939)

I'm much more concerned that almost every site that I visit lately sends traffic to Facebook and lets them track information about me, even though I have never and will never use facebook.

Try Ghostery. I think you will be amazed at how many trackers it blocks (I've found as many as 34 on a single page). Of course, they aggregate the total trackers blocked daily and sell that info, but it's not your data for targeted adverts.

In my opinion, it's tough to win in the privacy battle, but you can minimize your exposure.

Re:get a clue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891009)

ok, but it doesnt make it right in all circumstances. If i post something to facebook that says, I hate EA, that should not be considered a tacit endorsement of EA, in the same way as if i go to EA's facebook page and 'like' it. I get it you are the "product" blah blah blah, they own your information, that doesn't give them carte-blanche to take "fuck facebook" and turn it into "i like facebook and am recommending it to all my friends". I mean i agree with you on the other stuff, and if you "like" something you ARE giving an endorsement of that product and you SHOULD expect that they will use this information. But if the standard is you mentioned me so you like me, then whats the point, why not just say because you use facebook you like EA or even better you like whoever we say you like, stuff it into the terms of service and call it a day and avoid the lawsuits altogether.

Hipsters (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 9 months ago | (#45890669)

Facebook is for hipsters.
All "likes" are sarcastic.

Seriously though; relabelling the "inform me of changes on this page" button to "like", doesn't mean I actually "like" it. It just means that you're mislabelling your functionality.

Re:Hipsters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891253)

A "subscribe" button, separate from "like", would be much better.

I don't like anything. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890723)

Problem solved.

"Likes" do not mean 'like' (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 9 months ago | (#45890741)

"Likes" do not represent something people like. So characterizing it as that in an ad is deceptive.

People "like" things for any number of reasons; maybe they were initially interested, but then decided the product was an utter piece of shit upon further inspection. Maybe they "liked" it as a joke, or ironically, or because it was stupid or funny or ridiculous in some way, or accidentally.

To take a "like" out of any sort of context, and then with a serious face say "So and so likes X. You should buy it!" takes a serious lack of appreciation for the real world. If its not illegal it should be.

Why do you defend it?

Re:"Likes" do not mean 'like' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891023)

If you broadcast to the world that you like something it seems ridiculous to later complain companies later site your endorsement of their products.

If you don't like something then don't click the like button. Don't do it as a joke, don't do it ironically, don't like a product until you've researched whether it is a piece of shit.

If you say you like something as a joke, that's your problem. If you say you like something before you've investigated whether it's any good, that's your problem as well.

Take responsibility for your actions.

Only if they pay for them (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 9 months ago | (#45890755)

[nt]

The best way to express myself... (1)

iplayfast (166447) | about 9 months ago | (#45890777)

Just because I like somebody doesn't mean I want to go to bed with them.

Really? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 9 months ago | (#45890781)

I can think of a reason why this doesn't work.... saying that they have "liked" something contains the implicit assumption that they actually like it....that is...they hit like honestly. I can see why that might be a valid assumption if you are ignoring the details but, the simple fact is, facebook doesn't have a dislike button.

In fact, I personally "liked" Obama's facebook page. Why? Is it because I like him? No. I didn't even vote for him the first time around. I also have "liked" a page by the "Reagan Coalition", is it because I like them? No, not at all.

In both of these cases, I hit "like" because I wanted to keep tabs on them, and I wanted to discuss/argue with/troll other people who actually do like these things. Facebook has no "I don't really like this but I want to be included in the discussion" button.

anyone who has read my posts here knows I don't favor any form of gun control at all. I don't even see why its needed. Yet, I "like" one of the groups that discusses gun control...because I want to be part of the discussion! Believe me, not a single member of that group has any illusions that I "like" what they are trying to do.

So, I agree after a fashion. I would have no issue with this "your friends like..." advertising if there was any reason to actually expect that clicking "like" actually had some meaning that was relevant to the concept it invokes. The simple fact is, this is not true at all.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45890813)

So you voted for Obama the second time around? That only makes it worse. I could understand people being hoodwinked by the liar the first time he ran but on the second go-around? He was a plain faced liar and everyone knew it.

He's done as much damage in one term as Bush did in two. I can't wait to see how much worse it gets if he gets even an iota more power, never mind the lemming fanboys he has defending his every abuse.

Re:Really? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 9 months ago | (#45891003)

> So you voted for Obama the second time around?

I did not say that; if I had said it, it wouldn't be true. However, I can understand why people would have voted for him the first time around.

Actually, I have never, not once, neither in a federal election nor a local one, ever voted for either a Democrat or Republican candidate; not even for the proverbial "dog catcher"

Miranda's (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 9 months ago | (#45890795)

Are facebook users aware that anything that they say (or like) can and will be used against them, even if they said/liked it before any warning was given?

Public data is public (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 9 months ago | (#45890801)

Private data is semi-private. Don't want your name to be associated to something, don't use social media. Remember the services own the content, not you.

Question (1)

The Cat (19816) | about 9 months ago | (#45890805)

Why is Facebook exempt from COPPA? For that matter why are Disney, Blizzard, Steam, Twitter, Hasbro, Mattel and Nickelodeon also exempt?

We all know they collect e-mail addresses from site visitors under the age of 13. That was made illegal in 1998 without permission from a parent.

Yet somehow only little companies are subject to fines from the FTC. Why?

Show me the money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891007)

If Facebook -- or anybody else -- wants to use my image or anything else I do to make money, then I want a piece of the action. And no, just letting me use the site isn't a big enough piece.

(Sure, slashdot is probably making a tiny amount off of the content I contribute, but in this case giving me access to the site is a big enough piece.)

Turnabout? (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 9 months ago | (#45891057)

But in cases where you willingly and knowingly 'liked' a page, Facebook and Google+ ought to be able to tell that to your friends in advertisements, without being sued for it.

So if I go to Google and find a query that links to my web site, should I be able to use the Google logo in a commercial saying, "As recommended by Google"? If there's a Facebook page that links to my site, should I be able to use their logo?

Commercial endorsement rights cost money.

FaceBook Liking does not indicate approval (1)

I'm just joshin (633449) | about 9 months ago | (#45891083)

In order to comment on the wall of the company's page, you need to like it.

I've liked many pages just so I could tell the company (or politician) how they can best sod off.

I belong to an antisocial network (1)

new death barbie (240326) | about 9 months ago | (#45891173)

We have a "Dislike" button. It does NOTHING. Because when I choose to share my opinion, IT WON'T FIT ON A FREAKIN' BUTTON.
I have a wall. It's very tall and very thick, and made of stone. Post on it all you like, if you can get across the moat. Watch out for the archers. They will poke you.
I'd invite you to join, but IT'S AN ANTISOCIAL NETWORK. DUH.

The only way to win is not to play (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891185)

I can summarize all that verbiage in one phrase: "The only way to win is not to play." Remember this when you accept something for free (the scariest words in English are - "it's free!"), work for a corporation for free (providing reviews, likes, etc), and so on. You're playing their game by their rules.

To watch your enemy on FB, you have to "like" them (1)

dmomo (256005) | about 9 months ago | (#45891195)

On Facebook "liking" some entity is the only way to really follow posts made by that thing. So, no. I may want to hear what my enemy has to say. On facebook, to "follow" them, I have to "like" them. It's just a stupid word that poorly describes the functionality.

Piffle (1)

koan (80826) | about 9 months ago | (#45891261)

Fuck Facebook.

Bennett Haselton (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891271)

Does this kid pay /. to have his blog entries posted here?

Likes don't mean anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891291)

Billions if not trillions of likes have been bought or exchanged, if not clicked to receive a coupon or some other incentive or reward. So no, they are definitely not the same nor in the same ballpark as endorsements. They are 100% meaningless.

Sure it should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891333)

See title.
As long as the ability to 'dislike' is also available.

Honestly, I am surprised how far we have gotten into the 21st century without crowd funded negative publicity campaigns. I think the idea is simple and would be easily understood by the masses. Certain corporate entity screwing you as a consumer? Check to see if someone is running a negative publicity campaign on 'crowdvertisement.com' (-not currently registered at the time of my post) and pledge 10 dollars toward some goal of negative advertising. Then you really are voting with your wallet.

Ask yourself if there has been times you felt screwed financially by some large corporate entity. How many others are there like you? What recourse currently exists for you as a group? If you could find each other and pool your resources, you could collectively cost the company FAR more than they cost you individually... and maybe even help them change their practices.

Intelligently crafted negative publicity would be far more cost effective per dollar than voting for the competitor with your wallet . This is because you are potentially helping/teaching/educating others to vote with their wallets.

-mcw

No "Dislike" Button (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891351)

With no "dislike" button it's clear that FB is a vanity world for attention-whoring women

Facebook is useful. Here is why : (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891511)

Facebook is very useful for me, because a person's priorities are revealed
by whether they use "time sinks" like Facebook.

I am the head of HR for a Fortune 500. I post anonymously to avoid repercussions
from some litigious fool who would waste the resources of my company by initiating
legal action after reading what I wrote.

If a prospective employee uses Facebook I make sure they are not hired.
And if an employee begins using Facebook we find another "official" reason to "let them go".
This is what my bosses want, and they didn't get to be in high level management by making bad
decisions.

Facebook is for time-wasters. Companies which have their shit together don't
want those types on the payroll.

Whine about it all you want, this is the real world and those with the gold make the rules.

Sounds like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45891539)

a bunch of fags are jealous of facebook

you know when you have billions of dollars, the parasites come out of the dark - all kinds of jealous, dumb, buzzword loving, retarded, "think of the children", "think of my cause which you should give a shit about!" lower than low scum begin to file lawsuits because they literally could never ever invent something themselves or even conceive any original thought. So what do they do? they sue others to make themselves relevant.

I can only hope the USA and the world evolves into a true technocracy - even with Hitlerish standards. Those who cannot form an original thought and provide something useful to the technological advancement of the world should be put in a fucking gas chamber and killed. Any person who can not form an original thought, and are just parasites, suing companies because they think their cause is important, should be gassed and killed - because they do not provide any advancement to the culture (as facebook has) The people and the state will soon recognize this and hopefully lynchmob anyone gaming the system for a lawyer or self serving payoff.

*disclaimer I do not use or have a facebook acount

Model Release (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 9 months ago | (#45891575)

let's assume that the company had one of their photographers take the photo so that they owned the copyright, and the only issue is the unfair use of your likeness.

Yes, they would own the copyright, but using it in any meaningful way would require them to get me to sign a model release form authorizing them to use my image. Of course, Facebook's TOS probably has text along the lines of "you consent to your image being used by any company we partner with for any purpose we decide" to cover the model release case. Just like they likely have text forcing you to grant them a worldwide right to your photos with the option to sell rights to whatever third parties they decide to.

The decision for the courts would be: Is a simple TOS enough for a model release? What if they use a photo of someone not on Facebook? Say my wife, who is on Facebook, posts a photo of me - not on Facebook - and a company decides to use it for their ads. Obviously, I've never agreed to Facebook's TOS so I didn't "sign the model release." It just seems too risky, legally, for a company to grab a Facebook-posted image and assume that the Facebook TOS covers their rear.

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