Thanks, lawsuit: Facebook forced to let users opt out of ‘Sponsored Story’ ads

Facebook to let users opt out of 'Sponsored Story' ads

It just got more difficult for Facebook to make money off of you. As part of a lawsuit settlement, Facebook will soon allow users to better control how their personal information, including names and photos, is used in individual “Sponsored Story” advertisements, reports Reuters. Parents of users under 18-years-old will also soon have the ability to approve or deny the use of their children’s names in Sponsored Stories.

“Facebook will create an easily accessible mechanism that enables users to view the subset of their interactions and other content that have been displayed in Sponsored Stories,” wrote Facebook in the settlement proposal (embedded in full below). “Facebook will further engineer settings to enable users, upon viewing the interactions and other content that have been used in Sponsored Stories, to control which of these interactions and other content are eligible to appear in additional Sponsored Stories. Without limiting the foregoing, but for the sake of clarity, these settings will include the ability to enable users to prevent individual interactions and other content (or categories of interactions and other content) from appearing in additional Sponsored Stories.

The settlement stops short of altogether banning Sponsored Stories, which Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is quoted in the court documents as calling the “holy grail” of advertising thanks to their effectiveness. Nor will the social network provide a single on-off switch for ads.

The settlement finalizes a lawsuit, brought fourth by five Facebook users for the social network’s use of their names and photos in Sponsored Stories without their consent, and without being paid for the endorsement.

In addition to adding granular controls for Sponsored Story ads, Facebook has also agreed to pay $10 million to a number of organizations that educate Web users about how to use social networks safely. Those organizations include the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.

Facebook says that the combined costs of the settlement, including the $10 million payout, another $10 million in plaintiff legal fees, and the lost revenue from users opting out of Sponsored Stories clocks in at around $103 million. The opt-out features could also hamper Facebook’s attempts to quickly bolster ad revenue.

Facebook Class Action Settlement

Social Media

Twitter: Now you can jazz up your retweets with GIFs, photos, and videos

Twitter for Android, iOS, and its mobile site now lets you add GIFs, photos, and videos to retweets. The feature, which the company said people have been asking for, can be enabled in a few quick taps.
Social Media

Tinder Lite will soon launch to bring the dating game into emerging markets

Tinder Lite, a lightweight version of the dating app, will soon launch in emerging markets where access to data may be limited. The app will look to bring more people into the dating game, as Tinder looks to maintain its growth.
Social Media

Update WhatsApp! Sophisticated attack installs spyware with just a call

A WhatsApp vulnerability left Android and iOS devices open to attack from sophisticated surveillance software that could be installed simply by calling the targeted person through the app.
Social Media

Twitter sorry for mistakenly storing and sharing some users’ location data

Twitter has revealed that a bug led to it accidentally storing and sharing location data for a number of iOS users. The issue, which has now been fixed, affected those operating more than one Twitter account from the app.
Social Media

Save me: How to download Instagram photos from any device

Browsing photos in Instagram is one thing, but saving them is another. Until recently, it wasn't easy to get your pics and data off the 'gram and saved elsewhere, but now you can download Instagram photos with just a few clicks.
Photography

Photographer sues Ariana Grande after she posts his images of her on Instagram

A professional photographer is suing Ariana Grande after she posted photos on Instagram that he'd taken of her. Grande used the post to promote one of her albums, but the photographer says she used the photos without permission.
Social Media

Instagram ditches plans for stand-alone Direct messaging app

Instagram is shuttering it's stand-alone messaging app, Direct, after testing it since 2017. While the messaging features remain intact inside Instagram, the separate app will be discontinued in the next few weeks.
Social Media

6 easy ways to archive all of your favorite Instagram videos

Saving Instagram videos should be just as easy as taking a screenshot. So, we've put together a list of the best apps and tools that save your favorite Instagram videos onto your phone or computer.
Social Media

Instagram’s new Explore grid tempts you to open your wallet

Instagram has made some changes to its Explore tab that might tempt you into the occasional shopping spree. It's also planning to add Stories to the grid, mixing them up with the existing photos and videos.
Social Media

Be the master of your own Insta-verse with multiple Instagram accounts

Whether you own a small business or have separate Instagram accounts for your five cats, we'll walk you through the process of switching between your multiple accounts on your Apple or Android devices.
Social Media

A fond farewell to Grumpy Cat, the internet’s most famous feline

The worst day ever. We say farewell and offer a fond remembrance for Grumpy Cat, the internet's most famous frowning feline, meme and a genuine sweetheart, who died at the age of seven. Exceptionally even tempered and tolerant, Grumpy Cat…
Mobile

Treat yo' selfie with one of these 13 apps made to beautify your pics

Selfies might be a phenomenon second only to karaoke, but they're not the easiest thing in the world to create. Thankfully, these awesome selfie apps for Android and iOS will make beautifying your self-portraits easier than capturing them.
Web

Creators of WhatsApp attack software face lawsuit from Amnesty International

This week a spyware attack was launched on WhatsApp. Now the Israeli firm linked to that attack is facing a lawsuit from human rights NGO Amnesty International, alleging their software has been used to surveil human rights defenders.
Mobile

New York could dish out fines for texting while crossing the street

Do you text on your phone while crossing the street? The dangers of stepping out in front of a car or bus are obvious, but in New York, offenders could soon face a fine of as much as $250, too.