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How much do you hate that ad? Facebook wants to know

Members of the social-networking site can now give thumbs-up and thumbs-down to advertisements, potentially getting them to actually start paying attention.

Rob Webb

This post was updated at 5:34 AM on Friday with comment from Facebook.

Finally, I can now do something about all those tacky speed-dating ads that show up on my Facebook profile. Blogger Rob Webb appears to have been the first to notice that the social network now allows members to rate the site's ads with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, you know, gladiator-style.

Facebook originally launched its "social ads" strategy last November, and privacy concerns over the controversial "Beacon" ads gave the program some pretty bad press. But this move is pretty innovative, and likely won't be met with the same kind of backlash. As Webb noted in his blog post, if users can interact with ads and offer their opinion, they might be more likely to notice them and click through to them in the first place. That could do something to help the notoriously low click-through rates that plague social-networking sites like Facebook.

It's also a way that Facebook can make its ads more targeted by learning about user preferences: if you repeatedly give the thumbs-down to dating ads, for example, Facebook could stop showing them so much. Or if you're in the New York regional network on Facebook and are disapproving of Mets ads, Facebook could show you Yankees ads instead.

Facebook representatives told CNET that the feature is not available to all users and is a sort of test. "Facebook regularly experiments with site changes in an effort to continually improve the user experience," a statement from the company read. "The feedback tool for Facebook Ads that you noticed is currently available to a portion of site users. We are evaluating the response to the tool and considering whether to make it more broadly available."