You may have seen them on Facebook, they're called "Sponsored Stories" and they're generated when one of your "friends" clicks the "Like" button to applaud someone else's posting.
So does that mean your "friend" is being paid by the brand that's advertised in the story? You might think so, but you'd apparently be wrong and five Facebook users took offense at the notion that they were potentially being seen as advertising shills.
The five filed a class action lawsuit against Facebook in U.S. District Court in San Jose, charging that Facebook violated California law by publicizing users' "Likes" without paying them or giving them a way to opt out.
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A judge has agreed and Facebook has agreed to pay $10 million to charity to settle the lawsuit.
"California has long recognised a right to protect one's name and likeness against appropriation by others for their advantage," Judge Lucy Koh wrote, reported Reuters.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is quoted in the lawsuit as saying that such friend endorsement is the "Holy Grail" of advertising.
The judge must still give final approval to the settlement.