When Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) updated its “Platform Roadmap” for developers, it made a major change to its advertising API that is sure to delight users and frustrate marketers. On April 9, Facebook will kill off the “sponsored stories” feature.
Of course, that should in no way be interpreted to mean that Facebook is getting rid of advertisements or brand messages in the news feed.
“Page post and page like ads already automatically have the best social context (likes and comments) added,” Facebook said in the Platform Roadmap.
Existing sponsored stories will continue to be delivered for now, but marketers can no longer create new ones. All existing sponsored stories will be ended after April 9.
Facebook recently faced a class-action lawsuit over sponsored stories in which users charged that Facebook violated their privacy with ads. The lawsuit ended in a $20 million settlement and forced Facebook to create an opt-out feature, which Venturebeat estimated cost Facebook more than $100 million in revenue.
Facebook is doubling down on word-of-mouth marketing and encouraging brands to create compelling content on their pages that encourages engagement. So as long as your friends continue to like brand pages and the posts they make on Facebook, you will continue to see advertisements in your News Feed.