Feeds

Facebook CEO capitulates (again) on Beacon

Mea culpa

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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? ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?