‘Sponsored Stories’ Lands Facebook in Trouble
Recently Facebook had launched a new feature called Sponsored Stories. Using this feature, brands could post in the news feed of users whose friends had liked or commented upon the brand page. As a result, some people filed a law suit against Facebook, stating that by posting ads which have been liked by their friends, the site is violating the right of publicity law in the state. The judge did not dismiss the case but also said that Facebook is not trying to get rich through unfair means by using sponsored ads.
The Californian statute cited by the plaintiff states that a person’s name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness cannot be used for advertising without consent. These plaintiffs believe that they should get monetary compensation as their name and likeness was used in these sponsored ads. The judge said in a 38 page report that the plaintiffs have set up a sound argument and that Facebook may actually owe them some money.
Facebook however has stated that ‘Sponsored Stories’ ads do not need prior permission because they fall under an exemption of the above stated law which is for ‘newsworthiness’. The site claims that the plaintiff are already public figures to their friends on the site, and by liking a particular product they create newsworthy material that can be shared with their friends. This particular lawsuit poses a threat to the central method of revenue generation for Facebook as about 90% of Facebook’s revenue comes from ads. Social media marketing training can help you to learn more about sponsored stories on Facebook.