Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Does your Kid “Like” Jack Daniels, Marlboro’s and Hustler?

When Facebook makes a decision, they leave users with very few options to meaningfully express dissatisfaction with the changes. Recently Facebook began rolling out a massively disliked change called “timeline” and the only effective way I see to protest the change is to hide ads and indicate that is why you have hidden them (

The latest news is that after much ado to divert your attention away from long standing plans, Facebook plans to use your kid to advertise Jack Daniels (, Hustler (, Marlboro ( and all other manner of product and service. OK, that may be a bit sensationalistic, but nowhere far from realistic. Here’s the scoop (yeah, your kid may like Scoop Away too).

Back in 2009 the LA Times reported that Facebook could use your pictures to advertise product without your permission Facebook quickly laid out a scrumptious feast of red herring and told you that this wasn’t the case ( This was to divert your attention away from the obvious intent that was present even back then. It should come as no surprise that Facebook has decided that your profile picture will be used without your permission to promote products and services. It’s in the news here and here,2817,2397889,00.asp

Here’s the thing you need to be careful of… If you use your child’s picture for your profile picture, and lots of people do, then it is your child’s picture that is going to be shown as supporting a product or a service. If as an adult you want to “like” Jack Daniels, Marlboro, and hustler, that is your choice, but it is probably not what you have in mind for associating your kids with.

So, how do you protest the impending policy change by Facebook? I am aware of two viable protests. One of the ways to protest is to file suit, and people in California have done just that.

The other way to protest is to start un-liking ALL commercial Facebook entities. It is important that you also express why you are un-liking them.

Here is what I will told Alaska Airlines…

The only way Facebook will listen to consumers is to hit them in the advertisement.

It can be a little tricky to unnlike a page. Facebook tries to hide that form you. You need to go to the page and then scroll down to the bottom of the ledt ahnd column where you will find an “unlike” link. Facebook makes the “like” link prominent, but attempts to thwart user choice by making it much harder to find out how to “unlike” a page.

I must go now and unlike all commercial entities on Facebook until Facebook makes it prudent to “like” such entities.

If oyu use a picture of your child for your profile picture, I suggest you seriously consider the wisdom of the decision. Remember, today it is only products and events you have explicitly liked or subscribed to, but Facebook has nmuch deeper claims to your pictures and are only a policy change away from using profile or other pictures to promote anything they like.

Randy Abrams
Independent Security Analyst

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