Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Facebook to Apologize for Ad Platform “Mistakes”

On Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, apologized online to members for “mistakes” made implementing a new ad platform and gave them a way to turn off “Beacon” advertising platform.

In a note in his blog, Zuckerberg said the online social network took too many times to react to users’ concerns about the “Facebook Beacon” feature that launched in early November. Facebook has changed Beacon to an opt-in system to soothe members outraged by what they saw as an assault on their privacy. Zuckerberg has admitted that his team has done a bad job with this release and he apologized for it, they have made many mistakes building such feature.

The idea of Beacon is to generate advertising that is more effective. It is intricately combined with people’s social circle. Therefore, the products and services are promoted in a more organic way via the actions of friends and family. Moreover, Beacon lets Facebook partners (, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Sony Pictures Television, and Blockbuster) track Facebook members’ visits to their sites and relay messages letting users’ friends in the community know what they bought in a tactic referred to as “trusted referral” advertising.

Although the hot social networking site has made the changes, privacy groups are still working on a complaint to United States federal regulators about Facebook’s advertising platform. According to Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, Zuckerberg should have explained Facebook’s full advertising and data collection program to users in his blog. Moreover, the user needs to decide on how their information is going to be used for targeting at all, which advertisers have access to it and whether Facebook has the right to collect and analyze it.

In addition, (an Internet and political action group) said that 55,000 of Facebook’s 50 million members electronically have signed a petition titled “Facebook: Stop invading my privacy.” The petition asks Facebook not to spread word of what members buy to their friends without explicit permission.

According to Adam Green, spokesperson from, sites like Facebook are revolutionizing how people communicate with each other and organize around issues together in a 21st century democracy.

The uprising caused Facebook to change the system. Therefore, the members are asked to click on an “OK” icon if they want stories about their activities at advertisers’ sites to be sent to friends via automated news feeds. Moreover, if members do nothing with the notices, then no stories are sent. According to Facebook, this acts as intermediary between members and advertisers. A privacy stuff released Wednesday lets members permanently opt-out of Beacon.

Other sources about Facebook:
Facebook Gets Additional Cash from Hong Kong Billionaire Li Ka-shing
Microsoft to Invest US$240 Million in Facebook

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