backtop


Print 34 comment(s) - last by LogicallyGeniu.. on Dec 9 at 8:46 AM

Facebook shows that they (sometimes) know when to say sorry

The fallout of Facebook's Beacon adware campaign has left a troubling haze around the typically exciting social networking company.  Social networking has always had its critics, but Facebook is used to wild success and is a traditional analyst favorite.  Its status as a hot item was solidified when it received a significant recent investment and commitment from Microsoft.

Facebook rolled out the Beacon adware program which monitors users' shopping activities on advertising partners, early this month.  Criticism mounted swiftly as the software not only tracked users activities when logged out of Facebook, but also posted obnoxiously intrusive advertisements about what they had purchased in user's public news feeds.  These feeds would be displayed on user's friends pages.

Facebook finally agreed to make changes about its implementation of the adware, but refused to fully back down from it.  Facebook changed the feed connection so that users feed will only publicly announce purchase if users give it permission to.  Facebook still is supportive of the system, because it promises big money for the company, which can start to use it to sell targeted ads, a higher priced commodity than standard ads.

Now to top off the minor changes, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is hoping a personal apology will help to soothe users hurt feelings.  Mr. Zuckerberg said in his Facebook blog, "We've made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we've made even more with how we've handled them. We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it."

He reiterated that users can now disable the announcements of their purchases.  However, he did indicate that Facebook will continue to track users' off site shopping activity, though it promises to do so discretely and securely.

Facebook made just over $150 million USD last year in advertising, but is hoping to draw around $200 million USD in only a few short months by selling higher-priced targeted advertisements.  With this kind of financial incentive it is understandable why Facebook is loathe to entirely do away with the system, even if it comes at a bit of an expense to user privacy.

One of the most vocal critics of Facebook's user monitoring and privacy violations, Moveon.org, seemed happy with Facebook's response and Mr. Zuckerberg's commentary.  Spokesman Adam Green said, "Facebook's policy change is a big step in the right direction, and we hope it begins an industry-wide trend that puts the basic rights of Internet users ahead of the wish lists of corporate advertisers."

How exactly Facebook's struggles in pushing the adware on its users effect its bottom line are yet to be seen, but one of its advertising partners, Overstock.com, has already ditched the service.  Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg hopes his apology can help prevent more advertisers from jumping ship.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: ohh no, its ok
By Rotkiv on 12/6/2007 10:47:59 AM , Rating: 3
The adware is not stored on the users computer. Facebook partners with online stores to get your shopping habits. There is not much we can do to stop them from watching us on the internet.


RE: ohh no, its ok
By m0mentary on 12/6/2007 11:07:58 AM , Rating: 2
Correct me if Im wrong (because I am a little confused) but I though I read somewhere that they were able to track your shopping habits even when you weren't logged into facebook. How would they be able to do that, and how would they know you have a facebook account if you weren't logged in?


RE: ohh no, its ok
By Chris Peredun on 12/6/2007 11:48:17 AM , Rating: 3
I believe they're using cookie sharing as one method. If www.ApprovedSite.com decides to ask for the Facebook.com cookie, it will be provided, and they'll see that the Facebook account "John Doe" bought there.

Hopefully they keep www.ShadySiteThatLooksLegitEnoughToFoolFacebookAndT henStealYourLoginCredentials.net out of that whitelist.


RE: ohh no, its ok
By jtesoro on 12/7/2007 12:06:41 AM , Rating: 2
Aren't partner sites just as deserving of ire as Facebook? Let's say amazon.com got into this Facebook agreement. I don't think it's right that they allow your purchases to be blasted to other Facebook users. Even allowing Facebook to "discreetly and securely" track your amazon purchases for targeted advertising sounds wrong to me too.

Of course, as mentioned by someone else, web sites can pretty much modify privacy terms and conditions any way they want so users are pretty much screwed. But if you want to stop using Facebook in order to punish them, you should stop using their partner sites as well.


"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

Related Articles













botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki