It’s happening in Huron County…
Have you ever seen a featured news story appear in your Facebook news feed which endorses a particular commercial product? If you endorsed the product and wanted to share it with your friends, your name will be prominently displayed.
Perhaps you have seen an article you wanted to share with your friends, and they in turn share it with their friends when they “like” it as well. It’s cool when you want to let your friends know about a great new item. However, how would you feel if you had nothing to do with the article? Suppose the article just appeared out of the blue, and was circulated to your friends as if you had personally endorsed it? Would that be disturbing to you?
Yesterday a Facebook story appeared online that endorsed a new product offered by a well known and reputable Huron County company. The article was also “liked” and shared by five of my Facebook friends. The local company is awesome, no problem there. What is disturbing though is the story was shared under my wife’s name, yet she had absolutley nothing to do with circulating the story. She was sitting beside me and verified the same, and had not even logged into Facebook that day! This curious incident prompted us to contact the other Facebook friends attached to the article. They too did not know anything about the product they supposedly had just “liked”.
The problem is not about the endorsed company. It is about the fact that somehow a marketer somewhere has attached an endorsement without permission. An online endorsement carries with it the weight of your personal opinion, and has economic value. There is gold in those personal endorsements!
If this were the only incident, we could dismiss it as a glitch. However this is not the case, as it has happened numerous times. What makes this incident different is that this time my wife and I were in the same room so we could discuss it when it was happening.
Has this happened to you? If so, please comment.
What do we really know about the privacy permissions we give when we “like” a large commercial entity? Are we giving the company license to associate our names with future promotional stories? Have any of us waded through all the privacy agreements Facebook offers? Can your identity be legally hi-jacked and used to endorse commercial products on Facebook? Who knows? Has your account been hacked and used by third party marketers to generate “likes” that are not legitimate? Again we don’t know, but we do intend to follow the incident up with the marketing department of the local company who ultimately are funding their social media marketing. Do they know how all the “likes” are generated?
You can help. Keep an eye on your news feed, and if you should find your name associated with a commercial enterprise, take a moment to verify the “like” actually came from you. Keep a record of the story as we did, by doing a screen capture. We would then like to hear about it from you.