Lowe’s just sent out an email to shoppers on its mailing list inviting them to participate in its “Black Friday Showdown.” Doing so will give you an opportunity to preview 16 Black Friday specials and win them if you “like” Lowe’s on Facebook.
Sure, why not, thought MrConsumer.
Upon reaching their Facebook page, you discover that not only does Lowe’s want a “like” in exchange for your chance at winning all those prizes, they also want to install a Facebook app that will let them post messages as if they were you on Facebook.
Excuse me? You want me to allow you to probably send advertisements about Lowe’s to my friends but make it seem like I wrote those messages? I don’t think so. You can keep your 16 prizes.
On closer scrutiny of their Facebook page, however, there is a way to have your cake and eat it too.
Many people may have overlooked it, as did MrConsumer, but there is an option to control to whom the Lowe’s app would send their advertisements. As shown above, it defaults to sending those incognito ads to all your friends. However, you can change the setting so that Lowe’s only sends them to just you.
Mouse Print* asked Lowe’s to comment on their use of this questionable means of advertising, and here their response:
Lowe’s is not posting on behalf of the user without the user taking action and opting to share information. If a customer chooses to not share, then the app will not post any information on behalf of the customer. It is completely user initiated.
Lowe’s Facebook app and its ability to communicate is done in the same format as many other apps like it and is compliant within Facebook’s terms and services. The app notifies a user before they install it that it will post on content. However, it is important to note that the customer at that point has the ability to adjust who within their network will see the post. For example, it can be adjusted by the consumer so that no one can see any posts from this app should they choose. Again – this is standard protocol used by many brands.
To be clear, the only time the app actually does post is when the user chooses to ‘share’ their winning product on their Facebook wall. It will not post automatically. — Public Relations Manager, Lowe’s
This type of advertising just seems like it is overreaching.
In fact, similar invasions are becoming commonplace not just on Facebook, but when you download free apps to your smartphone. See Exposing Your Personal Information – There’s An App for That .