If you're annoyed that your Likes frequently get turned into Sponsored Story ads your friends see in their News Feeds, then you're in luck. Reuters is reporting that Facebook has agreed to settle a lawsuit with five Californians claiming that the company violates state law by publicizing the Likes of users in order to advertises brands, since users can't opt out and don't share in any of Facebook's revenue from said ads. The settlement mandates that Facebook allow users "more control" over how their information is used in Sponsored Stories "for at least two years" — the specifics of this "control" are unclear at this point.
Previously, Facebook agreed to pay $10 million to charity as part of this same settlement publicized last month, but possible changes to Facebook's policies were only revealed today. The impact of the settlement could have larger implications, however. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in settlement documents that a Sponsored Story is worth three times the value of a standard Facebook.com ad. The resulting changes to how Sponsored Stories operate will create an estimated $103 million in lost revenue, Reuters said.
While Facebook has agreed to the plaintiff's terms for settlement outlined last month, we might not see changes to Facebook.com for a while since a judge must still approve the settlement.