Facebook dials down the ad creepyness a tad after ruining more than Christmas

So, in the past weeks there's been debate all over the net since Facebook beacon advertising could - and would - blare out to your buddies what you bought them for Christmas. A lot of people felt that this invaded their privacy just a tad much, and people argued that opting out was too complicated as you had to do it on each site that had a deal with facebook instead of once, at facebook which would be far simpler. There were even petitions started at facebook (oh the irony) by the likes of Moveon.org. Faced with this online protesting, facebook decided to dial back the ad creep a tad. Much more including flash animation inside.

"Do you have a facebook?"

Nevermind other privacy issues like Vallywag reports on Facebook employees checking out potential dates behind private profiles and, in one case, allegedly logging onto a user's account, changing her profile picture to a graphic image, and sending faked messages. Creepy!
Companies that are playing with the Facebook beacon toy include: eBay, Fandango, CollegeHumor, Busted Tees, iWon, Citysearch, Pronto.com, echomusic, AllPosters.com, Blockbuster, Bluefly.com, CBS Interactive (CBSSports.com & Dotspotter), ExpoTV, Gamefly, Hotwire, Joost, Kiva, Kongregate, LiveJournal, Live Nation, Mercantila, National Basketball Association, NYTimes.com, Overstock.com, (RED), Redlight, SeamlessWeb, Sony Online Entertainment LLC, Sony Pictures, STA Travel, The Knot, TripAdvisor, Travel Ticker, TypePad, viagogo, Vox, Yelp, WeddingChannel.com and Zappos.com. If this type of advertising bothers you, consider shopping elsewhere.
Companies that are behind Facebook include the CIA

The second round of funding into Facebook ($US12.7 million) came from venture capital firm Accel Partners. Its manager James Breyer was formerly chairman of the National Venture Capital Association, and served on the board with Gilman Louie, CEO of In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm established by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1999. One of the company's key areas of expertise are in "data mining technologies".

The backlash: Zeldman: Facebook and your privacy

Months after geeks who hate walled gardens hailed Facebook as the great exception, Facebook announces that it is wholesaling our privacy to any turdball with a dirty nickel to spend. So what else is new? And what do we do about it?

Ideashower :How to block the facebook beacon.

Radiantcore: Deconstructing Facebook Beacon JavaScript

The retreat after many many users bitched about christmas being ruined when their gifts suddenly popped up on their facebook pages.
The Guardian: Facebook backs down over controversial advertising system

"We appreciate feedback from all Facebook users and made some changes to Beacon in the past day," the company said. "Users now have more control over the stories that get published to their Mini-Feed and potentially to their friends' News Feeds.
However, the company did not apologise and it is still impossible for Facebook users to opt out of Beacon entirely."

Feeling Betrayed, Facebook Users Force Site to Honor Their Privacy

"What's unique about Facebook is it's really turning over personal profile data to advertisers," said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a privacy advocacy group. "In essence, it's telling advertisers, we know exactly who your targets are, what their favorite entertainment is, the books they read, the kinds of social networks they have, what their political leanings are."

Adweek:Under Pressure, Facebook Modifies Social Ads Program

those Mini-Feeds and News Feeds caused a similar firestorm when they were launched in September 2006. Thus, the current flap would appear to be the second instance in which Facebook has severely mishandled introducing a new product—though in the previous case, the feeds ultimately proved to be popular among Facebook devotees.

Adscam foretells the future:

I have a feeling this whole house of cards is about to collapse. So much for Web 2.0. The next big thing is in danger of becoming the last big failure.

Yep, methinks web 3.0 is going to be all about privacy.
Facebook has dialled back the adcreep just enough to shut people up, and I think we're all a bit like the frog in heating water right now. Won't notice it getting hotter.

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Toste's picture

That video is creepy. But I'm sure teenagers don't are about their privacy.

Dabitch's picture

I fear that you're right.