A recent story on Mashable reported of a Facebook user discovering their photo being used in an advertisement for a dating site. After much to-ing and fro-ing it was determined that while Facebook do reserve the right to use your likeness in advertising, this particular ad came from a third party network.
Colour me not particularly surprised. A couple of days ago I spotted this advertisement gracing the right-hand side of my Facebook page:
“Wait a minite!” I thought. “That fellow in the picture looks remarkably familiar. I wonder if I can find something like it on the Internet?”
If you were playing at home, you’re absolutely right. It's Edward Norton playing a skinhead murderer in the movie American History X. That little black blob carefully cropped out of the frame? A swastika tattoo.
Reputable sites often run disreputable adverts, but generally they blame their provider and take steps to avoid the offending ads appearing again. Facebook, though, is the provider. The fact that this sort of thing is a par for the course on the site is a bad sign. It suggests Facebook is so desperate to get anyone to advertise that they can’t afford to exercise any quality control.