Mark Zuckerberg issues the inevitable apology

Tim Faulkner · 12/05/07 01:53PM

Mark Zuckerberg has apologized for the fiasco over Beacon, Facebook's controversial advertising system which reports users' activities across the Web to their friends. It turns out that, all these years later, he still values the trust of Facebook users. Of course, he has to remind us that trust is Facebook's highest regard every time he oversteps that trust. Maybe someone should remind the youthful CEO of his own views before he introduces a new feature which breaks that trust.

Facebook not so sure users have even heard of Beacon

Mary Jane Irwin · 12/04/07 06:20PM

Add this to the garbage in my Facebook news feed: I logged in this morning to find a "sponsored poll" about the Beacon advertising program. The poll didn't say who sponsored it, but I suspect it was Facebook itself. Freaked out by the reaction to Beacon ads, which report purchases and other actions taken on other websites to your Facebook friends, Facebook is trying to find its way through the fiasco. (Ryann from Facebook customer support writes to say, "Polls can be purchased by third parties, and we cannot give away any information on who purchased the poll. I apologize for any inconvenience that may cause.")

Does Facebook Beacon spy on you without asking?

Nicholas Carlson · 12/03/07 06:13PM

Facebook tracks user activity on sites affiliated with its Beacon advertising program, even when those users have opted-out of the program and logged off Facebook. So say security researchers at Computer Associates, who offers the following screenshots for proof.

Advertisers threatened Facebook — and one acted

Nicholas Carlson · 11/30/07 02:37PM, the activist group, takes credit for Facebook revising its privacy policy. The company itself says it was just listening to user feedback. But you know better: Money talks. The New York Times reports that prior to Facebook's announcement last night, at least one advertiser,, told Zuckerberg & Co. it would discontinue its participation in Facebook's Beacon ads until it became an opt-in-only program, where users have to actively consent to have their purchases broadcasted to friends on the social network. It's not clear if Facebook's latest changes have appeased the online retailer. declares Mission Accomplished

Nicholas Carlson · 11/30/07 01:03PM

Last night, Facebook revised its policies on Beacon, the online-ad format some critics say violate users' privacy rights. spokesman Adam Green called it "a huge step in the right direction," one that says "a lot about the ability of everyday Internet users to band together to make a difference." Never mind that war still rages in Iraq and George W. Bush is still in office. Hey, MoveOn, you win some, you lose some. (Photo by AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Facebook caves to Beacon critics

Owen Thomas · 11/29/07 08:46PM

For privacy advocates, it's a holiday miracle. Mark Zuckerberg's heart just grew three sizes. Facebook has just released a statement outlining several changes to Beacon, its online-advertising system which reports actions Facebook users take on other websites to their friends. The key takeaway? You can't opt out of Beacon completely, as some critics have asked, but reports on your activity — say, the fact that you just bought your girlfriend a ring on — won't be published without your "proactive consent," says Facebook. After the jump, the full statement.

95 percent of readers say Mark Zuckerberg stole Christmas

Nicholas Carlson · 11/29/07 08:40PM

In a landslide the likes of which we haven't seen since Brew PR's Brooke Hammerling destroyed Ogilvy's Justin O'Neill in a "snacky or flacky" head-to-head, 94.8 percent of readers believe that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stole Christmas. All this because his new ad product might tell your friends which presents you're getting them. And Zuck had stiff competition, too. Scrooge essentially kills poor Tiny Tim and the Grinch, well, he made a right mess out of Who-ville, didn't he?

MoveOn's Facebook screenshot leads to promised change

Nicholas Carlson · 11/27/07 04:43PM

For now, Facebook only allows users to opt out of its Beacon ads, which target your friends based on what you do on other websites, on a site-by-site basis. But, the activist group protesting Beacon over privacy concerns, says it doesn't have to be this way. In fact, the organization told, screenshots leaked prior to Beacon's launch indicate that a systemwide opt-out was once intended as an option for users. Facebook only later decided to remove this option, it seems. Here's the evidence.