Facebook is Trying to Sneak Disguised Ads Into Your Ticker Feed

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You may have noticed that Facebook recently introduced a feature called the ticker. You may have wondered, considering it’s often sitting right next to your newsfeed, exactly what it is for. Well, we have a pretty good guess, it’s for Facebook to experiment with sneaking sponsored content into your update stream with the hopes that you’ll click on it before noticing it’s an ad.

Now if you were to take a good look at the ticker, you could see that it does have a different purpose than the newsfeed. While the newsfeed purports to provide news, the ticker provides news that is too mundane for your newsfeed. Remember all those FarmVille stories you blocked? The ones about how Steve now owns 37 cows and employs 4 migrant workers? Those are now ticker material and it seems that Facebook is hoping the banality of those updates will dull your senses to the exceedingly similar ads that will also appear there.

It seems that part of the reason for this new, relatively covert approach is that, as time rolls on, less and less people click on ads because more and more of them realize that it is an utter waste of time. The best way to combat that — if you are a social media network with a hunger for advertising revenue and such social importance that you can afford to offend a large portion of your users on a regular basis without suffering any consequences — is to trick people into clicking ads without knowing it.

This kind of logic is getting more and more pervasive in social media on the whole. Twitter recently adopted a similar stance on ads, adding promoted tweets to the user’s tweet stream. While the world of digital media has largely become accustomed to the idea of sponsored content, which is sort of a necessary evil nowadays, this shift towards sponsored content that announces itself as such, technically, all the while doing its very best to look like regular old content, is slightly disturbing. Or maybe this is just the way things have to go if you want to keep using all your social networking sites for free. Who knows? Either way, be on your guard if you don’t want to be duped into clicking ads without knowing it. That, or set up a macro to click and close traditional ads while you’re away from the computer to convince advertisers that they don’t have to abandon their old techniques after all. Or just sit around and complain about how wrong it is. I’m probably going to go with that last option.

(via The Next Web)


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