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Summary:

Once again, Facebook is refining a controversial program that overstepped privacy bounds and drew negative reaction from tens of thousands o…

Once again, Facebook is refining a controversial program that overstepped privacy bounds and drew negative reaction from tens of thousands of users. The social net provided opt-outs for ‘Beacon’ a program that turned users who shopped at certain outlets or used certain services into barkers, but the ways to avoid participating were about as obvious as the double-secret probation in Animal House. Facebook now promises users will have to opt in before any private info is divulged. Even then, the program doesn’t give user an option to completely opt out of the service altogether, a move that is likely to disappoint some critics.

News.com: The pop-up window that informs a user that a third-party site action will be sent to Beacon has been changed; users need to click an “OK” button before the information is delivered and posted to Facebook. If the user does not act, the notification will go away until a future Beacon pop-up appears…also, Facebook has expanded the user help section that deals with Beacon, and links to it on every pop-up notification for the program.

AP: “The backlash against Beacon illustrated the delicate balancing act that Facebook must negotiate as the company tries to cash in on its popularity without alienating the users fueling its success.”

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  1. Facebook's implementation breaks the most powerful unwritten rule of social networks … Social networks' strength is that they provide equal benefit to all users. There is a way for advertisers to partake in this equal playing field, but Facebook's implementation has not captured this. You will see an equal benefit playing field implementation soon (probably not on Facebook) … stay tuned.

    Steve Goldner

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