Print 39 comment(s) - last by wallijonn.. on Dec 4 at 10:34 AM

Social networking giant Facebook deals with frustrated users who feel it violated their privacy

Many of Facebook's traditionally carefree users are not so happy these days.  The reason for much of their anger was due to Facebook's launch of new tracking software early last month, which loaded users up with an adware platform dubbed Beacon. 

The program tracked information on customer purchases outside of the site and at participating online retailers -- even if the user was logged off of his or her Facebook account.  The software was used to direct ads to the user when he or she was logged into Facebook, which while a bit invasive for some people's taste, seemed innocuous enough. 

Then came the reports that the Beacon platform was doing a bit more than it should have.  The software would post stories about user purchases in the users' news feeds.  Hopefully those CDs and movies you bought weren't a birthday gift (or hopefully your friend doesn't use Facebook) as it might have just been posted for all to see!  This was a typical sort of frustration that faced users, who felt betrayed by Facebook that the company was exposing their private information and purchase in an intrusive manner.

The move even began to generate political pressure, as many people wrote to their political leaders that Facebook was violating their consumer rights.

Facing mounting pressure, Facebook has now backed down halfway.  Now it is changing the service so that news feed still appear, but require a user to click "OK" before they will be posted to feed that the public can see.

Facebook reaffirmed its support of the Beacon platform as a whole, though, saying it felt that the software was respectful of user privacy.

Facebook is developing a bit of a big brother image with moves like this and a major recent investment from Microsoft.  Whether this effects its wild growth has yet to be seen.  Facebook also has faced negative press lately when it was subpoenaed by the New York state Attorney General over solicitation of minors on the site.

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RE: Social networks blow...
By FITCamaro on 12/3/2007 12:25:13 PM , Rating: 4
Not really. Millions of people still watch Survivor and American Idol. So the fact that Facebook and MySpace have prospered as much as they have really doesn't surprise me. I've lost a lot of faith in the ability of the human race to survive in the past few years.

RE: Social networks blow...
By Proteusza on 12/3/2007 12:42:59 PM , Rating: 2
At least we know the cockroaches will be alive.

RE: Social networks blow...
By TomZ on 12/3/2007 1:06:41 PM , Rating: 2
Not really. Millions of people still watch Survivor and American Idol.

There seems to be a large market for "dumb entertainment," and I think it has always been that way. Maybe it makes people feel better about themselves when the see someone else being an @aa on TV. Not sure.

RE: Social networks blow...
By sweetsauce on 12/3/2007 1:35:51 PM , Rating: 2
Entertainment that allows you to watch in a vegetative state will always be popular. Throw in the fact that you can make fun of the people you are watching and its entertainment gold.

RE: Social networks blow...
By bodar on 12/3/2007 2:22:47 PM , Rating: 1
Not to mention the matchmaking reality show "A Shot at Love" starring MySpace whore Tila Tequila. It's like an unholy union.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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