After Facebook moved a few years back to sell user data, I withdrew my personal membership and remain a non-user personally. However, I’ve been part of maintaining an Irregular Times Facebook Page since then as a way of sharing some of our stories on a different platform. Over the last week or so, I’ve noticed “Posts” like this appearing on the Irregular Times News Feed more and more often:
The first few times I saw these oddities, I assumed that some Facebook “friend” of Irregular Times had been tackily posting an endorsement. But then today I noticed the title — “United Background Checks” — as the entity making the post to my News Feed. “Hang on,” I said to myself, “I haven’t liked United Background Check!” After a second look I notice that this is a “sponsored post” — an advertisement posing as something shared by my friends.
I’m not the only person noticing these sponsored posts. Businesses are feeling extorted because the emergence of the “sponsored post” came at the same time that regular, non-paid posts stopped appearing regularly on followers’ news feeds. Others are asking why there’s no option to remove them.
What do you think? Is the insertion of advertisements that look like posts simply what’s to be expected and tolerated? Or is this step too much?