You have to watch that Facebook like a hawk

On Friday 30th when I was checking out Facebook’s Beacon (social advertising software) Facebook was about to reinstate privacy measure and an opt-in rather than opt-out approach.

Facebook’s Beacon was more intrusive than previously thought, wrote Juan Carlos Perez in PC World that day (nod to Yish):

Beacon will report back to Facebook on members’ activities on third-party sites that participate in Beacon even if the users are logged off from Facebook and have declined having their activities broadcast to their Facebook friends.

Of particular concern is that users aren’t informed that data on their activities at these sites is flowing back to Facebook, nor given the option to block that information from being transmitted, Berteau said in an interview.

“It can happen completely without their knowledge, unless they are examining their network traffic at a very low level,” Berteau said.

Facebook’s statement:

Stories about actions users take on external websites will continue to be presented to users at the top of their News Feed the next time they return to Facebook. These stories will now always be expanded on their home page so they can see and read them clearly.

Users must click on “OK” in a new initial notification on their Facebook home page before the first Beacon story is published to their friends from each participating site. We recognize that users need to clearly understand Beacon before they first have a story published, and we will continue to refine this approach to give users choice.

If a user does nothing with the initial notification on Facebook, it will hide after some duration without a story being published. When a user takes a future action on a Beacon site, it will reappear and display all the potential stories along with the opportunity to click “OK” to publish or click “remove” to not publish.

Users will have clear options in ongoing notifications to either delete or publish. No stories will be published if users navigate away from their home page. If they delay in making this decision, the notification will hide and they can make a decision at a later time.

Clicking the “Help” link next to the story will take users to a full tutorial that explains exactly how Beacon works, with screenshots showing each step in the process.

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