Feeds

Facebook CEO capitulates (again) on Beacon

Mea culpa

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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? ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
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
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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?
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.