Facebook Beacon: Now TWICE AS INSIDIOUS than before!

Facebook Beacon now WORSE than ever!

Well guess what… sometime last week, Facebook decided to stop indicating sponsored / endorsement links! How nasty! Just compare this to the previous versions published in the News Feed. That’s their insidious Beacon advertising program in full effect.

What makes this more aggravating than regular web advertising is that you won’t exactly know when you’d be endorsing a product, let alone have your purchase made known to the public.

While I’ve confirmed with my colleague that she was notified when Facebook was about to publish a story that she had purchased something online, like most users, she wouldn’t have know what this was about and may have simply clicked OK.

To date, I’ve informed two friends regarding their “involuntary product endorsements”, to which they promptly edited their privacy settings to turn off this reporting feature. If you’re a Facebook user and would like to turn this off as well, just follow these three steps after the jump…

Step 1: Click on “Privacy” on the top-right of Facebook’s page…
Turning off Facebook Beacon endorsements (Step 1 of 3)

Step 2: Under “External Websites”, click on “Edit Settings”…
Turning off Facebook Beacon endorsements (Step 2 of 3)

Step 3: Check the box where it says “Don’t allow any websites to send stories to my profile”. Now hit “Save”.
Turning off Facebook Beacon endorsements (Step 3 of 3)

That’s all right?
Well, that simply prevents Facebook from publishing actions you’ve made from their conspirators affiliates (e.g. purchases). If you read the print on that last page, it notes that external websites (e.g. web services you use) can’t publish your deeds in the news feed, but it doesn’t mean that they’ve stopped collecting information about what you do outside of Facebook.

But there are things we want published…
Another point to note, is that this is a wholesale option. There is no granularity for web services where we wouldn’t mind having our actions published and shared. For instance, I’ve seen Typepad users having their blog posts automatically announced in the public news feed. What Facebook needs to do is to let us choose between what we want published, as in to let us opt-in to the ones we want to share, rather than to force us to opt-out entirely.

Help Us Help You
Seriously, I don’t get why Facebook keeps exploiting their users’ trust. If only they let us control what we want published, they could still earn their advertising revenue and maintain good karma with their 64 million active users worldwide. Bah!

10 thoughts on “Facebook Beacon: Now TWICE AS INSIDIOUS than before!

  1. Thanks for the heads up. Did as you instructed. Apparently, I already my account set up this way. Probably did it the first time the Beacon insidiousness came up.

  2. I mistakenly clicked on it, realized what I had done and tried to erase it from my history…..ugh. I figured it would not be published on others accounts after I erased it but I guess I was wrong…

  3. Have you noticed that facebook changed the way you control your privacy settings. I can no longer find where to opt out of Beacon. Is it gone or have they hidden it from my view? Help!

  4. minterests: You’re right, the recently changed the privacy interface. In fact they make it harder now. To do it in Facbeook, click on Privacy (top right) > Applications > Remove ALL Authorized Applications > Click the Other Applications tab > then Select “Do not share any information about me through the Facebook API”.

    To clarify, Beacon is communication system, not just for ads, so turning this off doesn’t just remove product endorsements now, but other external services (e.g. Flickr, Netvibes) you want it to interact with will now stop working too.

    I don’t know if this is better or worse for us.

  5. Thank you Kevin, this is more confusing than it used to be because as you said I think I have to remove all applications I have. When I tried to click the box in front of “Do not share any information about me…” I was not able to, the reason cited is below:

    You are unable to fully opt out of sharing information through Facebook Platform because you are currently using applications built on Platform. To enable this option, you need to remove any applications you have added, and remove your permissions to all external applications that you may have used.

    So does this mean take off every application? For example RSS, visual bookshelf, etc.? Thanks for you help and patience.

  6. That’s right minterests, Facebook has “improved” the opt-out procedure by making you lose all previous inter-service functionality altogether. Pretty horrid I must add. šŸ™

  7. If I understand this correctly Kevin that means I would have to give up all of my applications to have my “privacy” settings the way I had them before when checked the “don’t allow any websites to send stories to my profile”. Horrid is right!

  8. Facebook updated its page setup. Can't find that option anywhere. Can you tell me if they moved it or stop using it?

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