The Facebook “Like” button is not as simple as it seems. Clicking on “Like” is fun but there are implications attached to it that you may not know of.

Did it ever occur to you that by clicking on a Facebook “Like” button, you are implicitly agreeing to “endorse” and have your name associated with an advertisement (Social Ads) for whatever you Liked? And did you know that by agreeing to use Facebook, you have given them the permission to use your name and picture in the Ads (read FB terms of service below in this post)

Here are some of the Ads I saw recently on Facebook with endorsements from people (annotated in red boxes) in my friend’s list. I guess Facebook is just using names for now, but may enable the display of your profile pictures in near future.

All these Ads, called “Social Context Ads”, are being aggressively pitched by Facebook to Advertisers, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

Now if you are happy about endorsing certain products (for free) and recommending them to your friends, it is absolutely fine. However, in doing so, you need to be selective and conscious about where and what you click the “Like” button for. But for those of you who care a lot about Privacy and want to opt out of this totally, fortunately, Facebook provides that option in their privacy settings (if you are able to navigate through the maze of 160 settings). The settings for advertisements are under Account -> Account Settings -> Facebook Ads (See below. Also note that Facebook says your Profile picture can be used in Ads)

Wait, thats not all. The above setting is just for Third-party Ads. There is one more setting below this for Social Ads based on your Actions on Facebook. Make sure to set that too…

And just so that you know, here are the terms of service you agreed to (in order to use Facebook):

About Advertisements on Facebook
Our goal is to deliver ads that are not only valuable to advertisers, but also valuable to you. In order to do that, you agree to the following:

  1. You can use your privacy settings to limit how your name and profile picture may be associated with commercial or sponsored content served by us. You give us permission to use your name and profile picture in connection with that content, subject to the limits you place.
  2. We do not give your content or information to advertisers without your consent.
  3. You understand that we may not always identify paid services and communications as such.

So next time you click on those “Like” buttons, you better know the implications of the simple click. And you also now know why Facebook will never have a “DisLike” button because then, they’ll never make money off these Ads.