Facebook Weakens Beacon

Facebook Weakens Beacon
Christine Huang
  • 30 november 2007

Late yesterday, Facebook announced they would be making significant changes to their controversial Beacon program, a new feature that automatically notifies members about the purchases their friends are making on sites like Fandango and Travelocity. In the last ten days, more than 50,000 members have signed an online petition against the program, Moveon.org leading the crusade. Acknowledging its users dissatisfaction (and reflecting the power of the crowd), Facebook modified Beacon so that no messages regarding users’ web activities would be sent without their explicit approval upon each transaction.  Besides the obvious matter of privacy infringement, users didn’t like the idea of companies attaching their ads to the notification messages. While this backpeddling is a big change to the ad strategy that was supposed to “change online advertising as we know it,” Facebook execs are confident users will eventually warm up to Beacon. As the NY Times reports:

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