Facebook is now showing "Featured Stories," or sponsored stories that appear in user news feeds.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the decision to Inside Facebook, saying that the social network has put more controls on the sponsored messages than previous ads. However, the ads won't show up without some provocation. Marketers can't target users who haven't "liked" a page or post -- so if you don't want ads from Cheerios, don't post on its Facebook page or "like" the page.
Inside Facebook writes that Facebook is slowly introducing the changes to "avoid user backlash." Right now, only one ad will show up each day, but we're sure that in the near future that number will change. TechCrunch also lamented that the stories are now being called "Feature Stories" instead of "Sponsored Stories," likely leading users to think they aren't ads. We're not sure why Facebook chose the more innocuous sounding name, but it certainly may mean that users will be slower to delete the posts.
For those who want to stop the deluge of ads, there are a few things to do:
- Click "hide" to remove individual stories
- Limit the volume of stories you see from a specific friend to only important posts
- Stop seeing certain kinds of stories altogether—just unfriend the person or unlike the Page