To Facebook creator and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, Beacon must have seemed like a good idea at the time.
Beacon is a form of online tracking, a popular advertising technique. Other companies, like Microsoft, AOL and Google, regularly check what sites people access and then target advertising to them based on their patterns of usage. It is usually very descrete.
The purpose of Beacon is to run ads next to purchase announcements. When Facebook members made purchases online, Facebook sent notices to their friends.
If I understand Zuckerberg’s thinking, Beacon is in keeping with the whole Facebook phenomenon of friends sharing information and preferences with friends. As Zuckerberg tries to make money on his creation, Beacon probably seemed like a logical extension. So, what’s the big deal?
Privacy, that’s the big deal, users say. And to me, the big irony. Over 50,000 Facebook users have already signed a petition protesting Beacon as an “invasion of privacy”. Some say they do not want to endorse products. That makes sense.
But privacy? That’s odd. How many of these people have talked about the most intimate details of their lives and posted revealing photos of their actions on Facebook?