Google Ads May Now Feature Your Face Without Your Permission

Good Morning America
Google Ads May Now Feature Your Face Without Compensation

View photo

Google Ads May Now Feature Your Face Without Compensation (ABC News)

Google+ users may now see their pictures plastered next to advertisements for a range of products, without their consent or compensation.

The company announced on Friday that users' names, profile photos and endorsements may appear on "reviews, advertising and other commercial contexts" by default, under the new terms of its service that kick in on Nov. 11.

The policy changes mean that every time a user over 18 reviews an album or bakery online for example, they may become brand ambassadors for their recommendations, which are then broadcast to others within their Google+ network.

Google explained that "shared endorsements" help people "save time" and improve results.

"We want to give you -- and your friends and connections -- the most useful information. Recommendations from people you know can really help," the company said on its website.

But the new changes to Google's Terms of Service, which follow in the footsteps of recent moves by Facebook, raise growing concerns about consent and privacy on the Internet.

"This demonstrates that Google does not care about their user's privacy," Bradley Shear, a lawyer who specializes in Internet privacy and social media, told ABC News. "This is an absolute abuse of the trust of their customers. We're all essentially now a product. I really think that goes against the grain of what we are as a society."

Previously, when users clicked the "+1" button on products, their endorsements had been used by Google on ads, albeit on a smaller scale. The latest changes mean that comments, reviews, ratings and "follows" can now also be distributed among Google+ users' networks.

Similar moves to employ socially "enhanced" ads were also made by Facebook this year. The social network announced in August its plans to gather users' names, pictures and profile information to use in advertisements and sponsored content without consent.

Unlike Facebook's policy however, Google Plus, which has 390 million active users a month, has granted users the ability to opt out, although they advise against it.

When unchecking the box providing Google with default permission, a pop-up appears asking users "Are you sure?" alongside a message warning that by disabling the setting "your friends will be less likely to benefit from your recommendations."

Google did not immediately respond to ABC News' enquiries. On its policies page, it warns users to "look at the terms regularly."

"If you do not agree to the modified terms for a Service, you should discontinue your use of that Service," the page states.

"Our goal is to be clear about what information we collect, so that you can make meaningful choices about how it is used," the company wrote on its privacy page.

Last year, the search giant paid a record $22.5 million fine for violating their users' privacy and was forced to enter into a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission.

"I think the FTC should investigate whether Google's latest changes to their terms of service violate the consent decree," Shear said. "There needs to be further governmental regulation."

The FTC could not be reached due to the government shutdown.

View Comments (34)

Recommended for You

  • Friend of Man Boating With Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez Texted Stay 'Close to Shore'

    The friend of a man who died along with Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez, sent a text message warning to "please be careful" and "keep him close to shore," according to a screen shot posted to social media. The texts, posted to Instagram by Will Bernal Sunday, offered some potential…

    Good Morning America29 mins ago
  • Quintuplet Siblings All Employed at Same McDonald's

    In a funny occurrence, one set of quintuplets are working for the same McDonald's restaurant together near their Michigan home. The now-18-year-old high school seniors are all part-time employees at the same McDonald's location in Potterville. "The first two came on a little over a year ago and…

    Good Morning America30 mins ago
  • SpaceX Unveils Plan for Manned Mars Mission

    According to a video posted on Twitter, the process will involve launching a reusable rocket booster to refuel a spaceship mid-orbit, followed by the deployment of the spaceship’s solar array as the ship begins its journey to the Red Planet. Today’s announcement comes less than a month after a…

    Good Morning America31 mins ago
  • Hillary Clinton Pans Donald Trump's 1st Debate Performance: 'He Made It Very Clear That He Didn't Prepare'

    Hillary Clinton came out swinging against Donald Trump today after the first presidential debate of the general-election season, criticizing his post-performance gripes, questioning his wealth and suggesting a "strong probability" the GOP nominee has not paid federal income taxes in years. "He…

    Good Morning America37 mins ago
  • Serena Williams 'Won't Be Silent' on Race-Related Police Incidents

    Serena Williams took to Facebook today, writing in a lengthy post that she won't be silent any longer when it comes to race relations and police-involved incidents in America. But Williams, 35, then wrote she remembered the case of Philando Castile, who was shot after he was pulled over in…

    Good Morning America49 mins ago
  • Denzel Washington, Viola Davis Erupt in New 'Fences' Trailer

    A new teaser trailer for "Fences" was just released and it's beyond gripping and emotional. The acclaimed duo are back as Troy and Rose, a couple struggling with life and race relations in the 1950s. Washington and Davis go toe-to-toe in the clip, which shows Troy upset that his life hasn't…

    Good Morning America59 mins ago
  • How Hillary Clinton Got Under Donald Trump's Skin During the Debate

    One of the big questions Monday night was how Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would try to goad each other into losing their cool during their first face-off. Aaron Kall, the director of debate at the University of Michigan, said he thought Clinton’s attack on Trump's tax returns "was the most…

    Good Morning America
  • Man Arrested in Connection With Bronx Blast That Killed Firefighter, Injured More Than a Dozen Others

    Julio Salcedo, 32, was arrested this afternoon in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, the law enforcement source said. Fire officials and police originally responded to the single-family house in the Bronx this morning after receiving a report of a gas odor, Fire Commissioner Dan Nigro said at a news…

    Good Morning America
  • Jennifer Aniston's Husband Justin Theroux Sounds Off on Brad Pitt's Divorce

    After news broke last week that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were splitting, the Jennifer Aniston memes began. Fans took to social media to post jokes involving Pitt's first ex-wife. Aniston and Pitt were married from 2000 to 2005.

    Good Morning America
  • Men Charged After Protesting Ryan Lochte on 'Dancing With the Stars'

    The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office filed criminal complaints on Monday against Sam Sotoodeh and Barzeen Soroudi, who rushed the stage of the ABC show earlier this month to protest Lochte's casting. During the season premiere of "Dancing With the Stars," Sotoodeh and Soroudi interrupted the…

    Good Morning America
  • Donald Trump and the Perils of Little Preparation

    Members of his campaign team were trying to lower debate expectations of Trump, leaking to reporters that he was shunning policy briefings and not standing at faux lecterns for 90 minutes at a time in preparation. During the 90-minute debate, Trump never mentioned the 2012 attacks in Benghazi,…

    Good Morning America
  • Stars React to the 1st Presidential Debate

    Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off in the first presidential debate Monday night at Hofstra University on Long Island, New York.And immediately after the contentious back and forth between the Republican and Democratic nominees, stars took to Twitter and other forms of social media to voice…

    Good Morning America
  • This Mom Threw Out Her Kids' Toys and Got Her Life Back

    Allie Casazza was drowning. In toys.“I had this huge room in my house, dedicated to toys,” she told ABC News. “Bins overflowing with stuff. A $150 light-up unicorn no one played with. The playroom was the bane of my existence.”She describes a scene familiar to many moms. “I’d send the kids into the…

    Good Morning America
  • Young Girl's Emotional Council Speech Laments 'Shame' of Fatal Charlotte Shooting

    Peaceful protesters crowded Charlotte's first city council meeting since the cop shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, with over 50 people speaking out against police violence. Zianna Oliphant, her hair done up in braids and tears streaking her face, brought into focus the stress police shootings place…

    Good Morning America
  • Trump on Former Miss Universe Machado: 'She Gained a Massive Amount of Weight'

    Trump made his remarks on "Fox and Friends" this morning in response to Clinton's pointing out that Trump called Machado "Miss Piggy" and blasting the Republican nominee's overall treatment of women. "She was the winner, and, you know, she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real…

    Good Morning America
  • 8-Year-Old Writes Hilarious Guide to Third Grade

    One 8-year-old has penned a hilarious, and brutally honest, how-to-guide for surviving third grade. Christopher Bannon, of Staten Island, New York, wrote the guide, simply titled “How to Survive 3rd Grade," for a school assignment, according to his mom, Melissa Barvels. Christopher and his…

    Good Morning America
  • Mike Pence Says Donald Trump 'Took Command of the Stage' in Debate

    Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence today praised Donald Trump's Monday night debate performance. Pence also said Trump was just making his positions clear when he reversed course on the birther issue. "Donald Trump has been focused on a stronger America at home and abroad," Pence…

    Good Morning America