MoveOn.org, an online activists group has started a campaign against Facebook’s “Beacon” advertisements.
The activist group claims that Facebook violates its users’ privacy by showing information about user activity them in their friends’ News Feeds. Earlier this month, Facebook unveiled an advertising program, dubbed Facebook Ads, which allows advertisers to create their own Facebook profiles to facilitate interaction with members. One component is Facebook Beacon, which puts updates in a user’s Facebook feed when they make purchases from participating Web sites like eBay and Fandango.com.
The advocacy group says that although members can opt-out, the option is difficult to see for an average person and even dissapears after a while if no action is taken. MoveOn.org has started a petition on their website and has also created a Facebook profile titled “Petition: Facebook, stop invading my privacy!” to lobby for this matter. “Facebook must respect my privacy. They should not tell my friends what I buy on other sites–or let companies use my name to endorse their products–without my explicit permission, ” says the petition.
Facebook has responded to the allegations in a statement and said the users have multiple options to opt-out. “We encourage feedback from our users on new products, but in this case, the MoveOn.org-led group misrepresents how Facebook Beacon works. Beacon gives users an easy way to share relevant information from other sites with their friends on Facebook. Information is shared with a small
selection of a user’s trusted network of friends, not publicly on the Web or with all Facebook users. Users also are given multiple ways to choose not to share information from a participating site, both on that site and on Facebook,” the official statemant said.