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Facebook may begin to display ads on third-party websites

Facebook log in on mobile
Image credit: The Sociable/Darren McCarra
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Facebook is making the headlines this week, and not just because its IPO is expected to be completed late Thursday. SlashGear reports that Facebook may begin to serve ads on third-party sites in the future.

Facebook log in on mobile
Image credit: The Sociable/Darren McCarra

Earlier this week it emerged that Facebook is testing a somewhat ridiculously-sounding feature that would see normal Facebook users actually paying to make their status updates more visible. Now it looks as though Facebook are considering serving targeted ads on third-party websites as well. Currently Facebook’s monetisation mechanisms exist solely within its own ecosystem.

Facebook’s privacy head Erin Egan appeared in a live web chat earlier today for a follow-up question and answer session on recently announced proposed changes to the network’s privacy policy, during which he reminded us that the current policy allows for serving of ads outside of the Facebook platform.

“We’ve always said in the data use policy that we may serve ads off Facebook and we may use that same information to serve you an ad off Facebook”

So a typical Facebook ad on a third-party site may suggest that you Like certain brands based on the interests of those in your social circle, those that have liked a particular brand before you.

It’s something Google has been doing for years – displaying ads based on your interests, and most recently displaying ads with Google+ social annotations – although with Facebook the delivery of ads based on your social interactions would be more obvious and may come with increased context like “Darren likes Nike”.

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Darren McCarra
Darren McCarra is co-editor of The Sociable. He has a keen interest in photography, all things mobile, and writing about technology and social media. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.