Facebook users rally vs. social ads

A couple of weeks ago, Facebook announced ’Beacon‘, the Facebook system for social ads. Pretty soon after it’s launch, this was described by users as “a system based on the idea of bombarding friends with lists of the crap we buy“

Professional activists organisation MoveOn.org even started a group on Facebook to organise the resistance from the inside. 15,000 Facebook users signed up to support MoveOn – within 3 days. So what’s the deal? Social ads have come to Facebook. This is not new, a while ago CEO Zuckerberg alreasy stated that Facebook users just had to get used to social ads, because there was no way that the users would be able to opt out of seeing them (http://www.alleyinsider.com/2007/11/zuckerberg-facebook-users-better-like-ads.html)

This is the real issue: The fact that Facebook will only let us opt-out on a case-by-case basis. You will have to opt-out over and over again for each transaction. I agree with the protesters that Facebook should immediately change Beacon to be 100% opt-in. If only because the current system will drive users right out the door. Anyone actually interested in sharing info about this could elect to do so. The vast majority who are not interested should never have to hear about this again.

After MoveOn complained, Facebook said MoveOn “misrepresented” the truth. MoveOn immediately fired back: ”If Facebook’s argument is that sharing private information with hundreds or thousands of someone’s closest ‘friends’ is not the same as making that information ‘public,’ that shows how weak Facebook’s argument is,” MoveOn said in an e-mail. “Facebook users across the nation are outraged that the books, movies, and gifts they buy privately on other sites are being displayed publicly without permission–and it’s time for Facebook to reverse this massive privacy breach.“

“The opt-out is very well hidden,” MoveOn spokesman Adam Green said. “It basically pops up for a second and then goes away, and it’s on the bottom of your screen when you’re purchasing on a totally unrelated Web site, so you aren’t even looking for it.” He added that there’s not a universal opt-out, so members have to repeat the process on each partner site. “Even if you see the opt-out and jump through the hoops of opting out once, that doesn’t solve the problem.“… “The bottom line,” MoveOn spokesman Adam Green said in an interview with CNET News.com, “is that no Facebook user should have their private purchases online posted for the entire world to see without their explicit opted-in permission.”


What do you think….?


~ by digivine on November 26, 2007.

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