While the number of Facebook users that have signed up to protest the social net’s redesign represents only a fraction its 100 million members, the movement continues to gain attention. Over the past few months, dozens of groups have popped up on Facebook to voice displeasure at the changes. As USAT notes, one group has attracted 1 million members. The changes include separating members’ profile info into different areas of the site. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that he’s seen this kind of thing before — such as when the site first introduced the “news feed” feature two years ago. And it doesn’t appear as though the protests are going to lead to any mass defections. But one change that did quickly blow up in the social net’s face was last year’s Project Beacon ad program. A number of reports in the past week indicate that Facebook might be reviving Beacon.
In a post on his blog, Stay N Alive (via Mashable), developer Jesse Stay says that while Project Beacon never really went away, Facebook may be readying it for a bigger comeback. Beacon, which shared details about member purchases as part of the news feed, stopped accepting new marketers last fall after an outcry from users and privacy advocates. Stay relates a message he saw in a Facebook developer forum about another member’s experience signing up for CBSSports.com’s Free Fantasy Football feature. A popup announcing the developer had signed up for the game appeared on his Facebook profile, though with the option of declining to place the message on his page. It turned out that it was a promotional feature within Beacon. Facebook later told Stay that sites participating in Beacon do not pay to do, so the promotion doesn’t quite count as advertising. It could be that as it tested the waters for months on its redesign, Facebook is continuing to monitor reaction to Beacon and might turn it into an ad feature once again.