Facebook has been a part of my life for over 10 years. It has been a useful thing for communicating with friends and acquaintances across the world. It was very important when I was running a large online gaming community with people from almost every country involved.
However, the business practices of Facebook are at best questionable and several incidents recently have led me to stop using it.
The trigger was when Facebook put a button saying “Boost this post” on the administrative page for a group I administer. I clicked this button to see what it did, expecting something similar to what most forums do to put the post to the top of the view. Instead, it commenced an advertising campaign (on a relatively trivial message to a group) attracting charges. I discovered this when I received a message offering to increase the distribution of the advertising for further fees.
Following the link to “manage your ad” I tried to find how to cancel it. The only options I could initially find were to change capped amount to spend. I did eventually find an option that appeared to allow cancellation via a “Cancel” button and that appeared to work. But it did not! resulting in a continuation of the advertisement.
So here the real fun begins. I challenged them over a charge of 22 Euro. I suspect that many or most would just pay up and put it down to experience. I challenged this because it is as near to a scam as you can get. It may be an official one as far as Facebook is concerned.
The reply to my challenge and narrative of events was the corporatoid “you agreed to the terms and conditions”. However, as I pointed out repeatedly, I had not knowingly authorised an advertisement or to pay for such an advertisement. There was no indication that I was clicking on a button that would automatically trigger a bill and advertise a private post (to the closed group) to some unidentified audience. What sane person would authorise such a thing anyway? A reasonable person would expect to see some kind of dialogue to confirm agreement to committing to an advertising campaign, most especially when such a commitment is hidden behind jargon such as “Boost”. I have searched the terms and conditions to see where I might have signed up for advertisements by clicking a random button on their website but have failed to see this in terms I understand. It smells very scammy to me. It looks scammy. Probably is one.
What all this says to me is that Facebook cannot be trusted. Not with my online data, knowledge of friendships, personal information or to not take money from me without my authorisation.
That is why.