How many hours a day do you spend on Facebook? The more time you spend, the more you’re interacting with your friends. While you’re there, you’re probably interacting with a few of your favorite brands and businesses, too. When you come across a good company, you might “like” it. Whatever purpose this serves for you – communicating with brand reps, getting special offers, showing off your interests to the world – it also serves a big purpose for the business itself. Now that you’ve liked them, you’ve officially become a brand rep yourself, whether you realize it or not.
When you like a business, your friends are notified in their newsfeeds. Hopefully you knew this already; if not, think about it the next time you want to show your support for the local strip club (“Hi, Mom!”). Businesses love getting your likes because it means their reach is automatically extended to your friends. Since your friends presumably trust you, they might be convinced to check out that business and come to like them, too. Every time you like one of their statuses or posts, they get the same benefit of their content appearing in your friends’ newsfeeds, too.
You’re the New Ad Rep
But it doesn’t stop there. You know the Facebook ads that come up on the right side of the page? Right underneath the ad, you can find out which of your friends likes that business already. When you like a business, your name is appearing underneath the ads that your friends see, too. It works like this: You like brand X. Your friend sees an ad for brand X. Facebook and brand X make sure your friend knows that you like brand X. Suddenly, you’ve become brand X’s newest advertising rep. They’re using you to get to your friends. They’re taking advantage of your like and using it to make you seem like a staunch advocate of their brand.
How to Sever Your Ties
Facebook’s privacy settings are notoriously lenient when it comes to the “privacy” part. Changing your settings is not easy or intuitive, but it can be done. You can change your settings so that your name does not appear on any Facebook ads, and your friends will no longer be continually reminded of which brands you like. Here are the steps to do this:
- Click on “Account Settings” in the dropdown menu in the upper right-hand corner of your Facebook page.
- Click on “Facebook Ads” on the left side of the page.
- Underneath the heading “Ads and friends,” Click on “Edit social ads setting.”
- At the bottom of the page find the dropdown menu next to “Pair my social actions with ads for,” and Click on “No one.”
- Click “Save Changes.”
After you follow those steps, the businesses you like will no longer be able to pimp you out in their ads on your friends’ pages, and your brand allegiances will be kept (a little) more private.
Lisa Hann writes articles addressing current marketing trends for www.seomap.com. Lisa has over ten years of experience in the field and loves to hear from her readers.