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Facebook: Understanding sponsored posts and ads

7:02 PM, Dec 10, 2012   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - If you're a Facebook user, no doubt you're seeing an increase in sponsored postS, but why is that and how can you tell the difference between a real post and a sponsored post?

Let's break down the types you'll see:

-There are the pages that pay Facebook to have their posts highlighted. These are called "promoted posts." Generally these are pages you've already liked. This promotion makes it more likely that their fans will see it.

-Then there are sponsored posts that look like they came from your friends. Facebook takes a page that one of your friends has "liked" and then suggests you like it too. This has been the more common one lately with companies like Amazon or Walmart being two of the more aggressive pages. The companies pay Facebook to get these advertisements out to your feed by using your friends "likes". Sometimes they feature a deal, but not all the time. It's these ones you cannot opt out of right now.

-Finally there are the standard ads that you will see on the lower right hand side of your Facebook page. You can control some of this information in your privacy settings. Click on the Ads section (within the privacy settings). Here you can decide details about the ads on the side of your feed. You can opt out of allowing your name being associated with those ads or you can allow only your friends to see that information. This does not change the other sponsored posts. This only effects the side page ads.

Back in 2011, when Facebook announced that there would be "sponsored posts" based on what people liked -- there was a lawsuit that came pretty quickly after it began. Forbes reports that, as of November, there might be a settlement in the case that would involve Facebook creating a tool to allow us to opt-out of these sponsored posts.

Another post that looks like an ad -- usually involves a contest... and a friend's "like." These posts that say you could win something if you like this page. The posts function like a sponsored page post, but actually work using what's called a contest app. So you like the page, but then you have to install their Facebook contest app to participate in the contest.

These apps function like all the other apps we've talked about before. The difference is that some of these apps will allow you to choose "post only to me" as opposed to post you friends, friends of friends or public. These apps are required to tell you what information they will take from you, though sometimes you'll need to click deeper into them to find out what that information is.

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