Feeds

Facebook CEO capitulates (again) on Beacon

Mea culpa

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has issued a mea culpa to his 56 million users, saying he failed to give them the ability to control the personal information that is shared with others. He also announced a new switch that with one flip allows people to completely turn off the feature, which is dubbed Beacon.

"We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for that," Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. "People need to be able to explicitly choose what they share, and they need to be able to turn Beacon off completely if they don't want to use it."

The contraption was a thinly veiled attempt by Facebook, whose $15bn valuation rivals that of Ford Motor Co., to boost revenue by turning its users into walking billboards. By automatically sending information on users’ web purchases to their friends unless they went through the hassle of blocking the report, Bacon - as it could more aptly be called - promised to seriously improve Facebook's appeal among advertising execs.

Instead, Zuckerberg's adventure in advertising 2.0 generated howls of protest from privacy advocates who said users didn't necessarily want orders for bongs or anal beads being broadcast to all their friends. Facebook, not wanting to drop the goose that might lay the golden egg, relinquished, but only a tiny bit: It changed Bacon to an opt-in system, but only on a per-site basis. Users who didn't want purchases broadcast to their friends had to block the feature for each participating site they did business with.

So effective today, Facebook is giving users the control to block reporting altogether. Even still, it's not clear that Facebook has entirely gotten the message. Sites that participate in Bacon may still phone back to Zuckerberg and company about purchases made by Facebook users who haven't opted in to the system. Facebook is promising only not to store the information.

Lord only knows what kind of wiggle room that leaves execs charged with justifying a stratospheric valuation. Even more worrying, given previous security glitches at Facebook, how are we to know information won't be pilfered by miscreants? ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.