Dec 22007

Backlash Against Facebook's Beacon

From today's Washington Post, initial backlash against FaceBook's Beacon advertising feature:

Sean Lane's purchase was supposed to be a surprise for his wife. Then it appeared as a news headline -- "Sean Lane bought 14k White Gold 1/5 ct Diamond Eternity Flower Ring from -- last week on the social networking Web site Facebook.

Without Lane's knowledge, the headline was visible to everyone in his online network, including 500 classmates from Columbia University and 220 other friends, co-workers, and acquaintances.

And his wife.

Within two hours after he bought the ring on, he received an instant message from his wife, Shannon: Who is this ring for?

What ring, he messaged back from his laptop at work in Waltham, Massachusetts.

She said Facebook had just put an item on his page saying he bought a ring. It included a link to Overstock, which noted the ring was priced at a 51% discount.

"I was really disappointed because for me the whole fun of Christmas is surprise," said Shannon Lane, 28, who married Sean a year ago in September. "I never want to know what I am getting."

The Post reports that last night Facebook made the default Beacon opt-in more clear.

14k White Gold 1/5ct Diamond Eternity Flower Ring


4 Responses to "Backlash Against Facebook's Beacon"
rach says:
same thing happened to me (not w/ a ring but w/ another purchase). it was pretty bizarre!


Check out what others are saying...
[...] of the bits spilled over Facebook this week were spent beating up Beacon, but at UIE’s website, Jared Spool’s article on The Five Usability Challenges of Web-Based [...]
[...] That’s their insidious Beacon advertising program in full effect. What makes this more aggravating than regular web advertising is that you won’t exactly know that you would be endorsing a product, let alone have your purchase made known to public! [...]

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