To Save Its Bacon, Facebook Weakens Beacon

22 thoughts on “To Save Its Bacon, Facebook Weakens Beacon”

  1. “If you decide to opt out completely, you are in the clear, but if you forget to do so, and take no action, then Facebook system will keep collecting data.”

    Not quite…opting out doesn’t seem to put you completely in the clear either. The whole thing is very well-worded, but the most you can do, even in your privacy settings, is stop things from getting published to your profile. Nowhere do they let you completely cut off the flow of data from an external site to Facebook (unless the external site gives you such an option).

    So yes, you can prevent everyone from seeing everything you’re doing on external sites, but Facebook still gets to gather that info and do as they please with it (i.e. sell it).

  2. Mark has always been very concerned with the feedback of the new features. Facebook somehow manages to handle all these criticism gracefully, just like they did it when they launched news feed.

  3. Is it that Facebook will modify, not spike Beacon ads??? Confusing though…Well its looking like Facebook is up for making some serious changes..Finally, if users fail to approve or decline the Facebook alert on the partner site, Facebook will no longer assume the user is agreeing by omission. Instead, they will offer another, more visible opportunity to opt-out to users on Facebook itself. If no action is taken within two days, Facebook will assume the user complies and will publish the action in the news feed.

    Are they trying to catch users off guard??? Or they jst trying an explicit way to know what has happened and for them to publish.

    Parul
    http://www.bhopu.com

  4. Great headline and analysis, Om.

    I agree that the fact that this move does nothing about the collection of the data is problematic. It essentially brushes the real privacy issues under the rug.

    Beacon CAN be really powerful, in a way that’s meaningful for both me and my social network. But the way it was done made it look like purely a data grub for marketers, with little direct benefit to consumers.

    I was using other applications to pull in my reviews from Yelp, shared items from Google Reader, etc. on to Facebook before Beacon existed. That worked great because it was my choice.

    More here:
    http://blog.agrawals.org/2007/11/29/facebook-finds-a-new-course-for-beacon/

  5. To be fair they did put in the limitations on the news feed that everyone wanted, I.E. you could tell Facebook what to publish and what not to. that qwelled the tide, because it was enough to appease privacy concerns (the site was still handeling data internally)

    This is the same issue over again for most people, a a few of us are also sketched out that we know that facebook is collecting information even if we opt out of the postings on the wall.

  6. So they’re using cookies + Beacon to collect my shopping history? To tell the truth, I think it’s damn bold. Other companies out there are collecting the clickstream wisdom of crowds. FB will be able to collect the actual purchases + reviews of the crowds. With the user-provided demographics, this purchase information will be pure gold for Facebook. FB can use it for better targeting of ads on FB, as the best behavioral targeting ad network ever built or as market data for marketers.

    My only concern is that they keep this information anonymous and/or aggregated. No personally identifying info exposed outside of FB.

  7. Well, as long as Facebook has to make money out of the user data, you won’t be able to solve this problem. Fortunately, there is now a social network called Kaioo (http://www.kaioo.com/), which is funded by donations. All incomes are donated as well. The network has no interest in selling user data, because it doesn’t has to earn money. Maybe you should check this out as an alternative to Facebook & Friends…

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