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Facebook Ad System Stirs Controversy

By December 3, 2007

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Facebook's online ad system, Beacon, is causing a lot of controversy among its members. Users say their privacy is being violated because their activity is being tracked and posted online. The Beacon ad system works like this: A Facebook user buys a movie ticket from Fandango.com, for example. A few minutes later, the user's Facebook profile automatically updates announcing the latest purchase the user has made.

More on Facebook's Beacon:

Or let's say you purchase tickets to Cancun through Travelocity.com. Your Facebook profile then updates to show you're planning on taking a trip.

About 50,000 Facebook members have signed an online petition to stop Facebook's Beacon from making their private transactions public. The company has already modified its policy, giving users the choice on sharing their Internet activity with others or keeping it private.

Users can change their profile under "Privacy Settings for External Websites." Other users say a box appears at the end of their transaction allowing you to opt-out of sharing your purchase info but that the box disappears too quickly.

Is Facebook going too far? Share your opinion.
December 10, 2007 at 3:42 pm
(1) Aaron Taylor says:

I believe this is going very far. A matter of face/fact it is pushing it! We live in a day when there is so much materialism, and I believe this is the driving force that quickly makes companies forget there are people and private lives behind the “face” so to speak, and if your information as a consumer/patron cannot be held in the strickest confidence, then what do you have. Truly the relationship is merely a dollar value. As a customer I value my privacy, that’s why I rarely sign-up anymore for anything. Even with the option to not share information or not on Facebook, whose to say that they don’t have a sub-application that redirects information into a private company database for users/customer then re-routed to another server and shared from another gateway! The question here is can internet companies be trusted. I believe someone stands to make a mint if they come up with a strictly private internet monitoring company, and users can go through this domain first before they sign up for anything!

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