Here's a handy feature I bet you didn't know Facebook offers: if you "Like" a page, Facebook may choose to automatically publish an individual post from that page -- under your name. So it ends up looking as though you deliberately shared the post, whether or not you agreed with (or even saw) the post in question.
In other words, if you like, say, a well-known fast food restaurant's page, and months later this restaurant posts a status about how they feel it's time to finally tell the public their burgers are made from ground rat meat, that post may show up under your name at the top of the News feed for your friends to see. The takeaway message? YOU LIKE RAT MEAT AND YOU WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW.
(Disclaimer: I'm pretty sure most restaurants don't use rat meat. I mean, rats are really small. Not cost effective.)
This ZDNet article has a couple of strategically-blurred screenshots that show the feature in action. As you can see, the effect is pretty confusing -- yes, the Facebook user liked the page at one time, but they definitely didn't choose to share the page's specific post, despite how it looks:
The obvious downside to this feature is the appearance that you support the page's message, which could be overly political in nature … or just downright embarrassing. Here's another example from someone who liked the Drugstore.com page, then had the joyous experience of seeing their name next to a promotion for a "Date Night Gift Pack" from K-Y:
A Facebook spokesperson says the auto-sharing is intentional (because who doesn't want to spam their friends with posts from brands and organizations, right?):
To help people find new Pages, events, and other interesting information, people may now see posts from a Page a friend likes. These posts will include the social context from your friends who like the Page and will respect all existing settings.
Facebook is surely betting that this feature won't be annoying enough for people to stop liking pages, but to me it seems like a lose-lose. As the recipient, you can hide individual stories as they appear, but you can't block the page -- all you can do is unfriend the person whose pages are posting too much. As the person whose name shows up next to sex-jelly ads, you'll surely want to unlike the page in question. Unfriending and unliking? Boy, this social network is seeming more and more anti-social every day.
Have you seen this particular Facebook 'feature' in action yet? Would you be irritated if your name showed up next to a page's post?
Images via Facebook