The Users Have Spoken: Facebook Beacon Revamping

Posted Nov 30, 2007

“We’re sorry if we spoiled some of your holiday gift-giving plans,” stated Facebook Customer Support Rep, Paul Janzer. “We are really trying to provide you with new meaningful ways, like Beacon, to help you connect and share information with your friends.” Janzer also acknowledged Beacon “can be kind of confusing.”

As the 1984 Twisted Sister song says, ‘We’re not gonna take it!’  Facebook has made concessions to attempt to alleviate protests over Facebook Beacon.  Facebook Beacon is a platform that allows more than 40 web sites to embed a beacon to track user activity within the social network.  Some of those web sites include,, and  When a user consumes something from the aforementioned web sites, his or her friends would then be alerted via Facebook’s News Feed homepage.

Users have complained that their friends and family may have found out about gifts bought for them for Christmas and Hanukka after Beacon shared information on [Source: Associated Press via Yahoo! News]. 

The new Facebook Beacon will give users more of an opportunity to opt out of information-sharing.  When a user has activity that alerts a Beacon, a notification will ask the Facebook user whether sharing the transaction is permissible.  Users will also be able to customize which web sites are allowed to publish information via the External Websites privacy option:

This is why Facebook is successful.  The social network takes feedback from its users seriously.  And still manages to provide a platform that is still valued-added for marketers.  Adding privacy features after user revolt gives the perception that the social network puts its users first and revenue second. 

Coincidentally, this is the second time that Facebook stepped up their privacy options after adding a controversial feature.  When Facebook first introduced the News Feed and Mini-Feed, users got mad, but then the social network added advanced privacy features.  And now they’re doing it again.  Its like déjà vu and personally I get this feeling that they were planning to introduce the privacy options anyway, but want the good press.  But of course, thats just my thoughts so take it with a grain of salt.