Facebook posts to start showing up in ads

By Dow Jones Newswires-Wall Street Journal
Posted Jan. 25 at 6:01 p.m.

Some of what Facebook Inc. users post to the social network will soon start showing up in ads aimed at their friends.

The company, as part of an effort dubbed “sponsored stories,” plans to allow advertisers to buy and republish Facebook messages that users voluntarily post about brands — such as a check-in at a local coffee shop or a product on a shopping site for which a user clicks the site’s “like” button.

The sponsored stories are exact copies of the likes, comments and location check-ins that users post to their own walls and show up in their friends’ home page news feeds. The difference is that sponsored posts will get plucked out and posted again on the top right-hand column of the home page next to other ads.

Sponsoring a post increases the chance friends will notice it, since new postings in the news feed push others down and off the page. The user’s name and photo appears in the ad.

Facebook said the sponsored stories are labeled as such. Users won’t get any special notification that their posts have been sponsored and used as ads, and there’s no option for users to opt out of the service.

Jim Squires, a lead on Facebook’s product marketing team, said Facebook would ensure that it obeys all privacy and sharing settings — so a sponsored story would only show up to users that were supposed to see the original post. Since users are in control of what they post to their friends, the fact that some posts are sponsored doesn’t change that dynamic, he argued.

“Currently, marketers don’t have the ability to know or plan word-of-mouth endorsements as part of their campaigns,”¬† Squires said. “This gives a way for marketers to increase the visibility of stories about their organization.”

Facebook has been testing the ad format for three months, and it is launching with brands including Coca-Cola, Levis and Unicef.

Squires said the service is good for advertisers and users. Facebook’s tests have found that users get more out of hearing about products their friends are interested in than they do out of generic banner ads.

Advertisers won’t get the chance to edit users’ posts before they show up, though they can be flagged for offensive content. While a check-in or post could ostensibly include a bad review of a company, Facebook says the vast majority¬† are positive.

Michael Lazerow, the CEO of Facebook marketing firm Buddy Media said the new ad format is a “very big deal.”

“When you see your friends in anything, you are going to be drawn there,” he said. Several of his clients have signed up, he said, because they’re looking for ways to “turn up the volume” of their word-of-mouth marketing efforts on Facebook.

Read more about the topics in this post: , ,

Companies in this article


  1. Ian Michael Gumby Jan. 25 at 7:34 pm

    So that facebook post saying “Jim, I’ll meet you at the Starbucks on Elm” is now the property of facebook and will be used to make facebook more $$$, privacy be damned.

  2. Pablo Jan. 25 at 7:39 pm

    This is outrageous. Bye bye Facebook.

  3. Adam Lucio Jan. 25 at 7:41 pm

    They should make that commission based and give the poster some compensation, how about helping us out some yea?

  4. Ruth W Jan. 25 at 8:04 pm

    Please FTC step in and investigate this! wrong, wrong, wrong!!!

  5. kidzx5 Jan. 25 at 8:50 pm

    So…be sure you use inappropriate language in any post in which you refer to a brand name or store (even if you say its f$%^in awesome!)… Advertisers will abandon this idea in no time :)

  6. Dennis Jan. 25 at 8:59 pm


    So messages that people leave on a public social media website could be used on that same site for advertisement?

    How dare they!!!!!


  7. Don Jan. 25 at 9:24 pm

    Dont post on FB if you like privacy, it is all up to you! Don is not my real name.

  8. joe1 Jan. 25 at 9:55 pm

    Funny how i see no mention of all of those “accidental” privacy breaches the WSJ discovered months ago. hmmm.

  9. Brian Jan. 25 at 10:27 pm

    How come everyone is allowed to make money of our chatter and information except us? Want to use what I say,or post, in an ad then how about passing a little of that green my way?

  10. yibbi Jan. 25 at 11:36 pm

    OMG. Seriously, Facebook?

  11. Ian Michael Gumby Jan. 26 at 7:13 a.m.

    “How come everyone is allowed to make money of our chatter and information except us? Want to use what I say,or post, in an ad then how about passing a little of that green my way?”

    You freetard!
    They provide their site for free. You sign up and agree to their rules. They say they own everything that you put up on their site. When you use their site, then you agree to that.

    Sort of like Google’s voice to text feature on their site. They create the text and they keep that text forever. (Or until they run out of disk space…)

    Don’t blame them. Blame yourselves for getting hooked on free services that take away your privacy.

  12. mike Jan. 26 at 11:56 a.m.

    Facebook is in the process of jumping the shark.

    As soon as the hipsters latch onto something new, everyone else will slowly follow.

    Just watch and learn.

  13. Lisa Jan. 26 at 12:58 pm

    Let’s start another networking site without advertising…

  14. sandygrrl Jan. 26 at 9:50 pm

    So, this means I will be “unliking” every business on my feed, and will not ever “like” another business out there. You have no right to use my words or pics without permission….