How I unwittingly contributed to Mike Arrington's April Fools Day Joke at Tech Crunch

Here is the headline at TechCrunch right now:

Why We’re Suing Facebook For $25 Million In Statutory Damages

In the story, Arrington explains that though started TechCrunch as a mere and humble blogger out to have a little fun, he now has responsibilities, employees, payroll to meet, and an empire to defend -- yet Facebook is stealing his image for use in their advertising campaigns. The problem sounds plausible enough, but Mike throws in a paragraph of silliness at the end to make sure that we all know to laugh and not go around telling people that he will soon be in the courtroom with Facebook.

The problem I have and where I fit in the story is that I think it really is a problem. I just don't know why it is legal or even right for Facebook to allow or sell ads using your uploaded profile photos as a paid endorser.

Here was my note to Arrington:

I am guessing you are not a paid spokesman for Blockbuster:

I think this is clever marketing on Facebook's part, but it doesn't seem right and maybe not even legal. What do you think?

One of the things I don't like about it is that even though it has your name and picture, clicking on those takes me to Blockbuster, not you.

Does this mean that because I added the PackRat application, that I am going to show up as an unpaid spokesman in an advert for Cheez-Whiz or California Closets?

Phil Yanov

Here is the screenshot:

Facebook calls these "social ads." If you click on the ?, you get the following explanation:

What you're looking at is a Social Ad. Advertisers provide the text, and Facebook pairs it with a relevant social action that your friend has taken. Social Ads mean advertisements become more interesting and more tailored to you and your friends. These respect all privacy rules; advertisers never have access to personal information about you or your friends.

If anyone sees me unwittingly shilling for some cheesy product on Facebook, send it along. I've always wondered what I might look like as a pitch man. It seems to have done well for Ron Popeil.

Now, I need to go figure out what applications I need to uninstall in Facebook so that I don't end up in an advert.

qv: TechCrunch: Why We’re Suing Facebook For $25 Million In Statutory Damages

About Phil Yanov

Phil Yanov is a Technologist, Columnist and Public Radio Commentator.

He is the founder of Tech After Five as well as the founder and President of the GSA Technology Council and the IT Leadership Council.

His personal technology column appears in Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Journal.

He co-hosts the Your Day technology shows heard on NPR radio stations across South Carolina and is a frequent contributor to technology stories appearing on radio and television.