It was a simple, direct question asked more than once today at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park in Silicon Valley. There are ads on Facebook. Will there be ads in Facebook Home, the new Android home screen replacement (along with its snazzy if underwhelming new phone) that'll be available starting next week?
Apparently those of us in the audience needed a little clarification, despite the answer having been delivered just minutes before.
"Yup," said Mark Zuckerberg, this time leaving absolutely no doubt.
At some point, Facebook Home will have ads. Not next week, but somewhere down the road.
And you'll be perfectly OK with that. And if you're not, it won't matter.
For one thing, we have absolutely no idea how Facebook plans to implement adverts in Facebook Home and, more specifically, Cover Feed, which is its "put useful stuff in your lock screen" implementation. It could be the most beautifully designed advertisement in the history of advertisements. Would that be so bad? We simply don't know yet.
For another, we get used to things we don't like fairly quickly. Remember when Facebook didn't have ads? The elders among us probably do, but neither do they complain about them anymore.
Or maybe the shock and concern comes from the fact that so many in-app advertisements in Android apps are obtrusive, unattractive, poorly designed banners that are an eyesore at best, and make you want to uninstall the app at worse. If Facebook Home does things that route, I'll be the first out the door. But that's a pretty unlikely scenario. Chances are they won't be in Cover Feed -- Zuckerberg left a smidge of wiggle room -- but then again, we just don't yet know.
(Update: ABC News' Joanna Stern got Facebook to say Cover Feed ads will probably be in the same sort of design as Cover Feed stories.)
No, any kneejerk reactions about Facebook -- which, by the way, makes money off you 13 different ways before you even sign in -- eventually adding ads isn't just premature, it's likely as irrelevant as all the cries of "I'm leaving Facebook this time, I mean it!" You might not be willing to stick around, but there are millions and millions of others who will.
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