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.
The CA Security Advisor Research Blog provides evidence that Facebook continues tracking users who opt out as well as users that aren't even logged in to Facebook.
The New York Times Bits blog says Coca-Cola has decided not to use Beacon for now. Coca-Cola says they were told it was an opt-in service. This has many wondering whether Facebook lied to its advertisers.
Scott Karp says Facebook acted like it had a monopoly and treated its users like "'brainless meat for the grinder' - kind of like TV networks did when they force fed us 3-4 for minutes of mind-numbing commercials."
A Webomatica post contains a list of some of the companies that are possibly using Beacon. The post also lists some methods for blocking the Beacon while still keeping your Facebook account.
Even deleting your Facebook account may not help -- it may not be easy to do either.
Bubblegeneration writes that some of the pressure for Facebook to monetize is coming from investors. "There's another side to this story as well. I'm not sure how much pressure Facebook is getting from investors to "monetize". I'd wager that it's a great deal indeed."
Meanwhile, Facebook tried unsuccessfully to get some documents about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg removed from the 02138mag.com website. There's some juicy irony there with Facebook trying to have information removed from the Internet while they are blocking their users from removing information.
Between the Lines: "Some people make the case that most Facebook users don't care about the privacy issues, but a company that claims to be user-centric but blatantly makes decisions that are by far in the best interest of advertisers eventually is broadly painted as a untrustworthy. A lack of character rots a company (or country) from the inside out, and there are plenty of competitors ready to ascend the mountain."
There is much more discussion on Techmeme and Megite.
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."