Facebook May Be Deemed Illegal in Scandinavia - The UpStream

Facebook May Be Deemed Illegal in Scandinavia

posted Saturday Nov 24, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Facebook May Be Deemed Illegal in Scandinavia

We are all annoyed by Facebook's constant privacy policy changes and advertising schemes, but apparently not as much as the governments of the Scandinavian countries, who believe that Facebook's recent changes to their news feed advertisements go against the European Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications. The directive was created as a way to prevent email spam by requiring a user to have opted-in to receive solicitations, unlike the US requirement to be able to opt-out of solicitations.

Obviously the "Sponsored Stores" aren't exactly opt-in, and they aren't exactly not. Until recently, the Sponsored Stories would only show up for companies you or your friends had liked, but now that isn't exactly the case. When it was, it was easy to justify opt-in status - you friended a person who liked the page voluntarily, you can always remove them from your friends list if you don't like the things they do. In the new world, it is a little harder to justify to the Scandinavian governments.

It is not impossible, however. This is not email where, without it life on the Internet is impossible. This is a free, opt-in social networking site who needs to make money somehow to keep providing their free service to consumers. If you are not happy with the service you are receiving, or you believe the ads are too hard for you to live with, you are always able to opt-out of receiving them by deleting your Facebook account. I hear Myspace is looking for users again.

In reality, advertising on a social networking site is no different that advertising on any other free site. Why would Facebook's Sponsored Stores be any different than the SMS Audio and Microsoft Store ads on this site? Is it because the news on Facebook belongs to the user? No, that can't be it because anything that is posted on Facebook becomes the property of Facebook, they merely give you easy access to it. So what if they want to add a little more data in there between the other content?

Everyone is coming to the realization that Facebook advertising doesn't work, so why not let them burn out this business model while they look for the next one? No, that isn't how it is going to work - instead there will be a lawsuit filed and, once again, we will be forced to follow a suit between one group that doesn't understand technology and one that is trying to stay afloat. Hopefully either the governments will back off and let Facebook try and make money in one of the last ways they know how or Facebook can pull a Google and shut its service down in those countries. It seemed to work for Google, except for those 2 times this month.

What do you think? Should Facebook be forced to stop showing Sponsored Stories because they make some government officials uncomfortable or should they back off and leave things as they are? Let us know in the comments.


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