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Facebook Sponsored Stories coming in January

Beginning next month, Facebook will begin placing ads in your actual news feed instead of along the side columns like you're probably accustomed to, the company's website reports.

While this may come as a shock or a turn-off to many Facebook users who felt its appeal lay in its relative lack of ads, CNET explains that it's probably better that it runs ads to pay for its $1 billion-per year business instead of, say, selling your information for profit.

These news feed ads will be called Sponsored Stories. Businesses will pay the social network to feature existing posts and activity that mentions their company, which will only happen if a person "likes" a company page. The "stories" will also display the user's name and picture.

They differ slightly from regular Facebook ads because in that case, the business is just creating a regular ad to promote itself.

In either case, the aim is for businesses to gain exposure and release their messages for deals, discounts and updates to the right people - the ones who actually have a vested interest in the brand. They accomplish their goal even if a person doesn't actually click on an ad.

According to Business Insider, companies that you've liked will now appear in your news feed as if they were your Facebook friends. Facebook assures, however, that no user will be subject to ads from a company they haven't either liked, commented about or become a fan of.

"You will never see a post from a page you are not a fan of, or from people who are not your friends," said Facebook spokesperson Annie Ta. "We want to be really thoughtful about this, so we'll have a lot of rate limits in place. We hope to show people no more than one Sponsored Story in their news feeds per day and we'll clearly label the story. They'll also be of the same size and treatment as other stories in news feed."

You won't, however, be able to shut the stories off, you can only choose to view different ads if the current ones are of no interest to you.

Business Insider adds that pricing for the stories has not yet been established, and it's still unknown if certain brands will become guinea pigs for the roll out or if Facebook will simply open the floodgates for every company.

Furthermore, Facebook hasn't announced any plans to add Sponsored Stories to its mobile platform, so if you do get sick of the ads, you can always stay on top of your social happenings on your phone. 

Content Writer: Marc Hawk Marc Hawk Chief Executive Officer

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