Imagine if you are happily browsing through Facebook and you suddenly come across a dating ad which shows your wife as single seeking men. Well, this is what happened recently when Cheryl Smith's husband discovered that a dating site is using his wife's picture in a Facebook ad.
After Cheryl reported that incident, there was a lot of discussion on various blogs and later it turned out that it wasn't directly Facebook's fault. The third-party ad network screwed up in this case.
However, you should know that Facebook does give out your photos to advertisers and you shouldn't get surprised if your picture finds a place in a Facebook sidebar ad.
Here's what Facebook has to say on this:
Facebook occasionally pairs advertisements with relevant social actions from a user’s friends to create Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads make advertisements more interesting and more tailored to you and your friends. These respect all privacy rules. You may opt out of appearing in your friends’ Facebook Ads below.
I am personally not a great fan of this rule and I'd rather have Facebook not use my pictures on ads. I could always directly communicate with my friends on the products I like or dislike.
So how do I prevent myself from appearing in Facebook ads ?
Here are the steps which would help you do that.
1. Settings -> Privacy Settings
Log in to your facebook account and on the top right corner you'll find the settings tab. Hover the mouse pointer over it and it pops up 3 options, one of them being the privacy settings option. Click on it.
2. News Feed and Wall
Once you are in the privacy settings page, you'll find an option which says 'News Feed and Wall'. You need to click on it to proceed.
3. Facebook Ads
Now when you are in the News Feed and wall page, you will find 2 tabs on the top - Actions Within Facebook and Facebook Ads.
By default it is on Actions Within Facebook so you need to click on Facebook Ads.
4. Opt out from the ads
You would see that Facebook allows your picture to be shown in ads by third party applications to your friends in the social network.
Facebook does provide detailed explanations and assures you that your privacy won't be compromised with, however, as we saw in Cheryl's case, a little mismatch could sometimes bring a lot of trouble for you.
So in order to save yourself from such embarrassing situations select No one from the drop down menu.
5. Save changes
Yep, always the last step. Save changes and you are done. Your profiles photos will not randomly pop up in a third party ad going forward.