Beacon: The Eye of Facebook
Posted on December 2, 2007
Facebook first took a beating when its Beacon service was ruining Christmas by broadcasting information about gifts Facebook users had just purchased to all of their Facebook friends. But this was just scratching the surface of larger invasion of privacy issues with Beacon. We blogged earlier that Facebook's Beacon remained a problem because it was continuing to gather information about Facebook users even after they provided a way for people to keep details about their purchases from hitting Facebook's news stream. Beacon was a pretty clever name for Facebook's invasive new feature. A Beacon sounds kind, helpful and friendly. Something more sinister like the Eye of Facebook might have been a better name for Facebook's feature that gathers packets of information about you as you surf the web and sends them back to Facebook with no additional benefit to you whatsoever. Facebook is trying to use Beacon - it's all seeing eye - as a way to see much more of what you do on the Internet while still retaining its "walled garden" business model.
Here are some of the more recent stories on Facebook's Beacon.
Update: Paid Content says Overstock.com and Travelocity are also not using Facebook Beacon: "Overstock.com suspended the Beacon program on Nov. 21, and as of Friday, hadn't reinstated it, according to Mediapost. Also Travelocity, although touted by Facebook as a launch advertiser, was troubled enough by the program that it had not started using it as of Thursday."