Has this happened to you? You receive a message on Facebook that you've been tagged in a photo, but when you go to look at the photo you discover that it wasn't you at all, but some sort of product, service, or cause that a marketer is trying to promote. According to news from AdAge, this is the latest in guerrilla marketing efforts making its way through Facebook right now. It's so slimy, we hesitate to even mention it here, lest we give anyone ideas.

So, how does this work? Basically, a marketer looking to promote something tags a photo with several of their most influential friends' names. Those "friends" aren't necessarily supporting the given cause, they've just had their name hijacked for this purpose. That tagged photo ends up in the news feeds of the friends of those influentials as if it was a photo of them. After people click through to view it, they discover that it's not actually a picture of their friend at all, but a message in support of some cause, product, or service.

For the marketer, this is an quick way to quickly push a message to wide group of people. Tag 20 friends, and through the friend-of-a-friend (FOAF) network, you could easily reach thousands.

According to AdAge, photos are an ideal vehicle for marketers for three reasons. Sam Lessin writes, "First, people love them and tend to click on them all the time. Second, they get incredible real estate in news feed. Third, any message put into photos has a strange automatic relevance because it is attached to the name of a friend. Finally, there is a huge curiosity factor as to why a friend is tagged in an image."

What's worse is that he concludes the article by encouraging people to use this new method of promotion. Yikes! We absolutely hate this idea and hope that Facebook figures out a way to stop this marketing loophole before news feeds get filled with spam.

Photo courtesy of Facebook