Facebook Is Revamping Beacon Following User Complaints

By Amit Chowdhry ● Nov 30, 2007

Facebook has made concessions to attempt to alleviate protests over Facebook Beacon. Facebook Beacon is a platform that allows more than 40 websites to embed a beacon to track user activity within the social network.

Some of those websites include Overstock.com, Blockbuster.com, and Fandango.com. The way it works is that when a user consumes something from the aforementioned websites, his or her friends would then be alerted via Facebook’s News Feed homepage.

“We’re sorry if we spoiled some of your holiday gift-giving plans,” said Facebook’s 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.”

Users have complained that their friends and family may have found out about gifts bought for them for Christmas and Hanukkah after Beacon shared information on Overstock.com.

The new Facebook Beacon will give users more of an opportunity to opt out of information-sharing. When a user has an 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 websites are allowed to publish information via the External Websites privacy option.