Download Squad, four days ago Cheryl Smith's picture appeared next to a Facebook ad targeted towards her husband. The copy was not only inaccurate, but a little disturbing, "Hey Peter, Hot singles are waiting for you." As far as we know the Smiths are not into kinky role play and Facebook has not built an amazing new relationship compatibility algorithm. In actuality, Cheryl is the unfortunate victim of the fact that
Smith offered the following directions on how to change your photo settings in her blog. She suggests going to Settings >> Privacy >> News Feed and Wall >> Facebook Ads and then making sure "No one" is selected.
This is not the first time this week that individuals have seen their social media-related identities hijacked for advertising purposes. Crunchgear recently reported a slew of tweets linking to phishing sites. Essentially a bot account has been pushing out fake retweets from celebrities in the hopes that loyal fans will see the RT@aplusk's and RT@oprah's and make the mistake of clicking through.
While on the one hand it's incredibly flattering that your endorsement of a product might actually influence others' beliefs and attitudes. It's probably best to monitor your identities to ensure that your good reputation remains in tact. And if you don't mind endorsing products in your profiles, you might as well get paid for it through a service like Magpie or Izea.
UPDATE: After publishing this article, we received a note from Facebook representative Annie Ta saying, "Basically, any ads you currently see doing this are coming from third-party ad networks and are only running within the canvas page of an application, which is controlled by third party developers rather than Facebook. We constantly review our policies to ensure that these third-party ads meet the expectations we have for user experience."