Is Facebook resorting to trickery?

September 28, 2012 – While scrolling through my news feed on Facebook yesterday, I noticed something surprising about some of my friends.

No, it wasn’t their political views, although they can completely shock me and make me wish this election was history.

It was this little tidbit: they “like” Walmart.

The revelation may not seem odd, but knowing these people as I do, and knowing that they don’t shop at Walmart in protest of their poor treatment of employees, and use of child labor in China, I knew it wasn’t true. They would never willingly say they “like” Walmart.

That’s when I noticed an image of a beat up tennis ball chewed by a dog that lay in the background that was captioned, “Like if you will miss summer”. I realized the image itself is what they probably liked. And then I began to wonder if it was actually a misleading Walmart ad in disguise?

More and more, I’ve noticed friends “liking” retail sponsors, like Amazon.com, Duracell batteries, Macys, and more. There’s nothing wrong with liking a retail store or product, it just doesn’t strike me as something I would go out of my way to do. Could those companies be deceiving us too, drawing us in with something that we “like” and hiding behind the scenes until it becomes part of the news feed?

This may be common practice, and one that I am late discovering, but if it is what is happening, it is deceptive.

I‘ve also noticed that by downloading an updated Facebook app on my iPhone, all of my friends and their information were added as contacts. I honestly don’t remember approving that – that many contacts are way too much to page through. It does concern me, though that Facebook gave me the cell phone numbers of people I only know casually through a social media platform.

Like millions of others, I have a Facebook page, and I post on the rare occasion. I’ve always been more of a lurker. However, the more I learn about their practices, the more leery I become. I never worried about privacy issues before because I thought I was safe; I wouldn’t put anything on Facebook that would compromise me. But now they have my attention.

With Facebook making headlines about their privacy issues, and their stock not living up to expectations, could we be witnessing the beginning of the end for the social media giant?