I have some Facebook friends I’d rather not offend—editors, co-workers and well, friends. You probably do, too.
To keep away from alienating these important people, I stay away from posting about controversial subjects. You won’t find me bashing the president or ranting about Mitt Romney because I know full well that some of my contacts are supporters and I don’t feel the need to “get into it” with anyone about politics or anything, really.
So you can imagine my displeasure at learning that Facebook is automatically publishing posts under people’s names and placing them at the top of the News feed for friends to see. Sometimes these posts involve controversial political content that I wouldn’t ever post on my own.
According to ZDNet, in the last two weeks Facebook has been sending out these automatic posts according to things users have liked. For instance, people who “liked” Planned Parenthood at some time in their Facebook history might have sent out a message from the organization asking people to sign a petition about the Health Care Reform Act. Or those who ever liked the conservative group ForAmerica might have sent out messages asking people to “like” the message “ObamaCare must go!”
“Drugstore.com recently ran a somewhat racy promotion for the ‘Date Night Gift Pack from K-Y: Including $10 off 2 movie tickets, Yours & Mine Lubes, and K-Y Touch Warming Oil,’ and the ad implied that my associates liked the K-Y products. To say that my colleague and my friend were mortified would be an understatement!” wrote one Facebook user.
This is not cool.
For one thing, many of the organizations and causes you may have “liked” on Facebook you don’t really like at all, but just did so to support a friend trying to garner a bunch of likes for his or her business or cause.
And wouldn’t you think Facebook would have to get someone’s permission before posting on their behalf?
Apparently, Facebook considers this kind of auto-posting a great feature. “To help people find new Pages, events, and other interesting information, people may now see posts from a Page a friend likes. These posts will include the social context from your friends who like the Page and will respect all existing settings,” Facebook says.
And if you’re not interested in seeing these kinds of posts from others there’s nothing you can do to turn them off in your news feed, short of unfriending people, that is.
If you don’t want Facebook spamming people with who-knows-what-kind of messages sent on your behalf, you should inspect your list of likes (which you can find by clicking on “About” on your Timeline) and “unlike” any page you think might communicate something you might not support.
And if your friends ask you about a suspicious post supposedly coming from you, now you know why.