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Is it time for users to leave Facebook?

Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, unveiled the firm's new ad initiative called Facebook ads.

This new advert solution focuses on "trusted referrals" where adverts will be transmitted through and to your friends, like virtual word of mouth and in this case, automatically.

The press release mentions that "Advertising messages will gain distribution through what Facebook has termed the “social graph,” the network of real connections through which people communicate and share information. When people engage with a business’ Facebook Page, that action will spread information about that business through the social graph."

Facebook Ads launched with three parts: a way for businesses to build pages on Facebook to connect with their audiences; an ad system that facilitates the spread of brand messages virally through Facebook Social Ads; and an interface to gather insights into people’s activity on Facebook that marketers care about.

Zuckerberg has decided for now to play it safe. Only two social ads will be displayed per day and only once you have opted in a brand-related group.

As Silicon Alley Insider puts it, the whole format (opens in new tab) is still terra incognita, especially on such a massive scale.

How all this will pan out will depend on a number of variables that Zuckerberg himself acknowledges, makes Facebook Ads (opens in new tab) look more like a Beta version.

For example, at the moment, you cannot rescind your membership as a fan of a group and unlike existing user generated reviews sites like epinions, Facebook will only display positive reviews and will obviously be closed to Search Engine spiders.

But there's more to that. Dave Rosenberg (opens in new tab) from Cnet has captured the gist of the underlying privacy problems that will ultimately plague Facebook Ads.

"The idea that my casual and personal details and conversations can end up as advertising dollars is freaky and unnerving. I also don't want to know if some kid I went to middle school with is buying a boat or adult diapers on Amazon."

Talk about online voyeurism on a global scale!

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.