Facebook To Cry Uncle Over Beacon

    November 29, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Sources say Facebook is near to announcing changes to its Beacon marketing platform after pressure from privacy advocates over the last week.

MoveOn launched its campaign the Monday before Thanksgiving and has since signed up 50,000 Facebook members incensed about having their online purchases and activities outside the social network published via News Feeds.

Initially, Facebook was rather chilly to the accusations, saying MoveOn "misrepresented" how Beacon worked. But they’ve warmed up since national coverage and outrage ballooned over the last week.

A Facebook spokesperson has now said that the company is committed to "evolving" Beacon so that uses have more control over actions shared from participating sites. This control was originally planned for Beacon before launch, allowing users to permanently opt out of the program instead of the piecemeal version that upset users.

MoveOn now says the new incarnation of Beacon needs to satisfactorily answer two questions in order for them to call off the dogs:

1)    Is it still possible for private transactions made on other websites to be displayed publicly on Facebook without the Facebook user’s explicit opted-in permission? 
2)    Did Facebook add a way for users to permanently say no to Beacon, so users can have peace of mind that their private activity off Facebook will never be made displayed publicly on Facebook?

The answers they’re looking for, if you haven’t guessed, are ‘no’ to the first and ‘yes’ to the second. Otherwise, says the organization, Facebook is putting "the wish lists of corporate advertisers ahead of the basic privacy rights of Internet users."