Facebook Revamps Beacon Program Amid Protests
“Confronted with growing resistance to it’s new ad program, Facebook late Thursday said it would no longer publish information about users’ online purchases without their explicit consent.
The move comes nine days after activist organization MoveOn.org launched a protest group on Facebook demanding that the company revamp its three-week-old Beacon program, which tells members about their friends’ purchases on other sites. MoveOn urged that Facebook not share such information without first obtaining users’ affirmative agreement. By Thursday, more than 50,000 members had joined the MoveOn group, dubbed “Petition: Facebook, stop invading my privacy!”
Facebook capitulated to the protesters late Thursday, announcing that it would require users’ opt-in consent to the Beacon program.
One major e-commerce player, Overstock.com, told OnlineMediaDaily it suspended the Beacon program on Nov. 21–the same day The Associated Press reported that one Facebook member was dismayed to learn that her boyfriend had been notified about a gift she purchased for him at Overstock.com. That was also the day influential Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li blogged about being “blindsided” when Facebook notified her friends that she had purchased a coffee table on Overstock.”