Don't "Like" Companies on Facebook Or You'll Embarrass Yourself

The thing you Like on Facebook matter more than ever because of its new super search—they're easier to uncover. They might come back to haunt you. We're all going to see them more. Here's how to protect yourself.

Forbes reports, with a push of the privacy panic button, that Facebook is "recycling your likes" to promote advertisements in the news feeds of your friends. By recycling, Forbes' Anthony Wing Kosner means Facebook is announcing that you like, say, a restaurant or company, months (or even years!) after you clicked anything. This might be bothersome, or even misleading, in that it doesn't reflect your preferences right at this moment.

Don't "Like" Companies on Facebook Or You'll Embarrass Yourself

But it's hardly an infraction—just a restatement of something you did and might have forgotten about. And given that Facebook is a company, and companies need to make money, this is hardly radical.

What could be troublesome is the inclusion of "suggested posts"—basically, an advertisement for Nike paired with the fact that you like Nike. People who don't read well or lack full human attention spans (that is to say, millions of Facebook users) might think you're endorsing this stuff. They might think you actually care about the new Mountain Dew flavor, and then think less of you for being a corporate shill.

Lucky for you, this isn't so hard to combat: don't like corporate propaganda on Facebook. Don't like Coca-Cola, don't like Samsung, don't like Nokia, don't like Budweiser. Unless you absolutely need to stay abreast of the latest social media promotion (you don't), keep your clicks away from this stuff. If you don't want to be associated with ads, don't sign up to advertise.

Don't "Like" Companies on Facebook Or You'll Embarrass Yourself

Sometimes it's tricky. Sometimes you'll see something like this, which looks totally implausible.

Don't "Like" Companies on Facebook Or You'll Embarrass Yourself

Until you actually think about it.

And if having to think about all this makes you uncomfortable, steel thyself—as Facebook tries to turn every click into a dollar, there's only more where this came from.