ED#145 : Facebook Lies In Its Advertisements
My problem with Mark Zuckerberg taking Facebook public isn't that he gets to make a gazillion dollars - this is capitalism, remember? Or that many Facebook shareholders feel that they were ripped off in the IPO - caveat emptor, my friends!
My problem with him taking Facebook public is that he no longer seems to be focused on "making the world open". Instead, he seems to be more beholden to the shareholders, and proving to them and the world that he can monetize the huge Facebook community.
Now, I have nothing against corporations making money. After all, corporations are people, aren't they? They should be entitled to a decent living wage like everyone else. Well, at least that's what Mitt Romney says. The only thing I'm against is corporations lying to make money. I'm pretty sure there's a law or two against such things.
Facebook Moves From Suggestions To Lies
When Facebook started inserting Suggested Pages, it didn't bother me one bit. As someone who relies on advertisements to pay the bills, I'm a big fan of advertisements as a way to keep information and services on the Internet not only free, but also available to one and all. However, Facebook appears to have taken a wrong turn recently.
Yesterday, Facebook informed me that one of my friends claimed an offer from Astro, a local satellite TV provider. Note that it clearly stated that he "claimed an offer from Astro World of Movies".
I was personally interested because I recently subscribed to Astro. I clicked on the title to find out more, and it listed the full offer that my friend apparently accepted.
It so happened that the deal I received from Astro was better than this offer, so I messaged my friend to tell him that there was a better offer and that he might want to consider it instead. He was literally flabbergasted because he had absolutely no idea what the heck I was talking about. He never read about or claimed such an offer from Astro. In fact, he subscribed to Astro more than a year ago, and was only a fan of their Facebook page!
This made me take a closer look at the notification. I then noticed the Sponsored label below, which designates a Facebook advertisement.
I clicked on the Get Offer link just to check it out, and Facebook immediately sent me an e-mail with the offer. As you can see from the pop-up notice, this is a genuine offer by Astro because you actually have to redeem the offer at http://support.astro.com.my.
Obviously, Astro paid Facebook to promote the offer. I doubt Astro was intentionally deceptive about my friend accepting their offer. They probably don't care what Facebook did, as long as they see results - a high number of click-throughs and claimed offers. So the blame lies squarely on Facebook's shoulders.
My friend did not receive or accept any offer from Astro, yet Facebook posted a notification that he did. It's misleading at best, and an outright lie, if we want to be frank. Even if my friend was a fan of Astro's Facebook page, that doesn't give Facebook the right to lie about his acceptance of any promotions by Astro.
Again, I have nothing against Facebook trying to make a little dough off us. After all, they are providing a valuable service free of charge. The least we can do is let them run a few advertisements. However, we should draw the line at lies and misleading advertisements. It's one thing to "recommend" a sponsor's service or products, it's quite another thing to lie about your friends buying or accepting a certain offer when they did no such thing.
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