Facebook’s Revamped Beacon

    November 30, 2007

So Facebook has revamped the workings of their Beacon. To all you bloggerati and digital doomsayers (like me) who raised a stink about this, looks like your sense of smell wasn’t wrong.

Some things need to be opt-in, not opt-out. Looks like "Charlene Li just bought a table" showing up in a newsfeed is in the former category.

Aside from the unwanted privacy invasion and the possibility of people’s unusual personal buying habits being broadcast ("why is Joe buying infant formula? he has no kids!"), broadcasting some movements would be akin to giving too much business intelligence away.

It’s one thing to tell everyone what business books you’re reading right now, but I’m sure you can imagine how letting some of your subcriptions, research, and software purchase slip out might give more away to your "Facebook business friends" than you had intended. And so forth.