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Facebook has long struggled with how to monetize the site without alienating its users. Though there have been many outspoken critics at every new ad update, for the most part the number-one social networking platform has done an admirable job. There newest innovation, however, might rub the public the wrong way.

Julianne Pepitone reports for CNN that ‘Partner Categories’, Facebook’s newest feature for advertisers, allows users to be grouped based on purchases made both online and in a physical store. That’s right. If you hold a membership card at your local grocery store and purchase a larger than average supply of one item in particular, Facebook, and its advertisers are going to know about it.

As an advertiser, you’re probably pretty excited about this development. While you won’t be able to see specifically who you are showing ads to, you will be able to see how many people fall into each category and why they were placed there, meaning what buying habits they exhibited to fit in this particular group. In this way, you get a more focused audience and can only show ads to people likely to be interested in your product.

As a typical Facebook user, you may feel that your privacy is being infringed upon. Previously, advertisers could only group you based on the information your volunteered on your profile and your online activity.

So, is Facebook going to far with this new feature? Regardless of your opinion, I’m guessing ‘Partner Categories’ isn’t going anywhere and similar innovations will be popping up for advertisers on other platforms soon.

The existence of fake or bought Facebook ‘Likes’ has been pretty well documented, but now, Facebook is actually stepping up their efforts to stop the practice. As Doug Gross reports for CNN, last month, the social media site announced plans to improve its “”site integrity system”. Those plans include cutting out fake ‘Likes’ and eliminating spam accounts.

There are many ways a page can gain ill-gotten ‘Likes’, but Facebook claims their new system catches all of them. The selling of ‘Likes’ is a strictly forbidden practice and some pages have already seen a large number of their ‘Likes’ disappear.

A blog post detailing the new site improvements stated it best, “a Like that doesn’t come from someone truly interested in connecting with a Page benefits no one”. 

Google’s changes lately have been quite thorough.  They’ve made changes for AdWords, they’re changing the way the search engine itself operates, and now they’re coming out to take a stand against online scams.

In particular, the schemes for how to “work-at-home” to use Google and make a ton of money are starting to get shut down by Google.  Google is starting to file lawsuits against these companies to bring them down.

For most people, these are familiar schemes – you see them in banner ads, with text like “Use Google to make 1000s of Dollars!”.  They generally operate by having a kit you send out for and then have you set up for automatic billing once a month (and many people don’t realize there’s automatic billing).

CNN has a bit more detail in this story.  I did find it rather amusing that under this story in their sponsored links, one of the ads said “I’m glad I lost my job! Jobless Dad makes $6493/month working online from home. Read how he…”