Facebook ads cause tension

Julian Williamson

Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, 23, announced Nov. 6 at a press conference that his famed social-networking company will be opening the doors to advertising moguls around the world.

Beacon, the new advertising program, is Facebook’s next step in turning a profit from the more than 50 million users currently on the network.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and with Web surfers becoming jaded to the sight of banners, advertisers are moving toward more creative ways to get the word out.

The new advertising trend is aimed at putting the message into people’s conversations so popularity will spread by word of mouth and, more importantly, through Internet messaging.

Zuckerberg revealed the plan to allow companies such as Fandango, among others, to create their own Facebook accounts to target their advertising at users they feel will be most receptive.

This will allow users to add companies to their lists of friends to either praise or criticize products or the corporations themselves as means of direct feedback for market research.The move to allow companies, upcoming movies, and other Web sites to create their own user profiles is reminiscent of Facebook’s larger networking competitor, MySpace.

Originally created for music bands to gain free web-based notoriety, MySpace is now home to thousands of companies.

It is feared by some who abandoned MySpace due to the barrage of advertisements, that Facebook will eventually evolve into the same thing.

“It’s the reason why I prefer Facebook over MySpace. I hate all that stupid hacking and stuff on there,” said Cassandra Jacober, 20, political science. “It seems like they’re taking all the bad parts of MySpace and adding it to Facebook.”

A controversial aspect of Beacon grants companies access to user profiles to send advertisements to those whom seem to have an interest in the company’s product.

Another part of Zuckerberg’s plan gives companies, such as Travelocity, which has already implemented the program, the ability to send account-holders and their friends updates on their news feeds after making a purchase.

Many users have do not approve the ads, starting several online protests like one on MoveOn.org, which has more than 50,000 people signed up. There are also dozens of other anti-Beacon petitions on Facebook itself.

“That’s a terrible idea,” Jacober said. “There are certain aspects of my personal life that I don’t want broadcast on the Internet without my say-so.”

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