Users of Facebook are reporting that Sponsored Stories are moving from their original position interspersed with standard Facebook ads to the news feed itself, a change that is sure to ruffle the feathers of many. While the ad cannot appear unless the user likes the advertiser’s Facebook page, it certainly feels quite intrusive.
You may not realize you’re even being hit with an ad unless you read the timestamp closely: Facebook marks the sponsored post as “featured”. Rolling over the tag shows the text “You are seeing this because you like (insert company name). A sponsor paid to place it here”.
Other types of Sponsored Stories allow advertisers to hit up your friends even though they may not like the page, but this type will not. Facebook is smart enough to realize that sticking an ad in the face of somebody who may not care to see it wouldn’t be such a smart idea.
According to Inside Facebook, which looks to be the first to find out about the new ads, the social networking company is performing a gradual rollout. Initially the sponsored news feed posts will be limited to one per day, and won’t be shown on mobile devices. It’s not clear where Facebook plans to take the sponsored stories from there, though.
Either way, I’m not happy about this. My news feed is to find out about the things I care about, not to be pestered with ads. Add to this the fact that it may not be clear that they are ads, and it really bothers me. The only reason Facebook is doing this is because these ads will be worth a lot of money, and on top of that likely have a higher click-through rate as a result of their prominence.
Where does it end?