Facebook: Goodbye sponsored stories, hello hashtags

While the rest of us were obsessing over the NSA and domestic spying, Facebook was busy introducing a major feature while killing another.

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Previously, to get the best social context available, advertisers had to purchase sponsored stories in addition to ads. In the future, for example, when you create a Page post photo ad, we will automatically add social context to boost performance and eliminate the extra step of creating sponsored stories.

Translation: Nearly all Facebook ads will be sponsored ads. So instead of seeing something like this:

You’ll see something like this:

Is that an improvement? Sure. I guess. It still doesn’t make me want to click Like on avocados, though.

OK, now back to the Snowden Identity for a minute. As a result of all the speculation and misinformation about what information major Internet companies are sharing with the feds via the PRISM program, Facebook has joined with Google and Microsoft in asking the US government to be more transparent about how this process works. Essentially, Facebook is pleading with the feds to let it disclose a scosh more information about the number of requests it receives from the FISA court for user information, as well as how it responds to those requests.

A good idea, an eminently reasonable request, and long overdue. But I bet the answer is still no.

When Facebook is more forthcoming about the data it gathers than the US government, you know things are bad.

Got a question about social media or privacy? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he’ll make something up). Visit his snarky, occasionally NSFW blogeSarcasm or follow him on Twitter: @tynanwrites. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

Now read this:

Web trackers are totally out of control

Further adventures in data mining, or welcome to my Lear Jet Lifestyle

Four reasons why Do Not Track turned into Do Not Trust

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