Score one for Facebook users everywhere. After it was discovered that certain applications were including ads that used profile images to push "Hot Singles" the company took notice and has changed its ad approval process protecting Facebook users.
This action is a great move for the company and shows that it is willing to listen to users even if it affects its cut of advertising revenue.
The new approval process doesn't sit well with everyone. Jennifer Martinez, who reported on the issue for GigaOm, worries that the unclear nature of the ad approval process will harm the community and create a situation similar to Apple's iPhone application approval process.
Ever since Apple launched the iPhone App Store in July 2008 it has been under fire from developers and users for the secretive and fickle approval process that applications must pass before making it to the public. The all powerful group which decides which Apps can pass has stopped many worthy applications from making it to the marketplace while rubber stamping obviously troublesome applications like the "Baby Shaker app".
Most recently Apple has come under fire by the FCC for banning a Google Voice application for dubious reasoning and received criticism for banning a dictionary which contained swear words.
While I agree with Martinez that Facebook needs a clear cut set of rules that applications and ad networks can rely on, for the time being common sense will suffice.
Most Facebook users won't be too shaken up by their profile image showing up as an endorsement of a product that they have become a fan of or to challenge friends in a "When will you get pregnant" quiz. But, if an adult advertisement or get rich quick scheme appropriates their likeness through the fine print on a Facebook application, expect an uproar.
For now, advertisers will just have to err on the side of decency and caution if they want their ads and applications to make it onto Facebook. Even though decency is objective, in this case, it's alright with me!
Facebook promises to vet ads using profile images