Jonathan Trenn Gives Us the REAL 411 on Facebook Beacon– and It's NOT a Good!
Jonathan Trenn ‘s MarketingConversation.com’s blog (Marketing Conversation is the official blog of Abraham Harrison LLC) had a recent post about a new program featured on Facebook called Facebook Beacon. Abraham does a great job explaining what this program is– and isn’t– and perhaps the operative word is ISN’T– because it isn’t a program that you are going to want to use– particularly because it publicizes your online purchases and shopping habits to all your Facebook friends.
Here’s an excerpt from Trenn’s blog
If you’re not sure what Beacon is, it’s basically this. Facebook is
setting up agreements with online retailers that aren’t part of Facebook to
have the retailer directly send information of what people buy on the retailer
site to their “friends” on Facebook. The user is first supposed to see a notice
on the retail site for which they need to give the thumbs down if they object.
So the system is supposed to be opt out. But there’s been some circumstances
where the information is just automatically sent without approval or even
notification of the buyer. That means the next time you buy a book from Amazon
or an item from Overstock.com, the retailer could end up letting your friends know
what you bought unless you explicitly stop it.
Take a look at Trenn’s post and read it thoroughly. It’s hard to say or insinuate that this is a Microsoft application because it takes a lot longer than a few weeks to put this into play. What’s more critical is why Facebook did this and who it benefits? At what point does this benefit the”user” — meaning you and me? It certainly doesn’t help me to know that you are buying a new mattress or handbag. Worse yet, it could provide truly personal information about highly personal items that you don’t want everyone in creation knowing about– and Jonathan Trenn’s blog is about all this and a whole lot more.
I have to agree that this is an egregious breach of ethics and privacy. I don’t WANT everyone on Facebook to know about my purchases. I use Facebook for friends but I have a lot of business contacts too and it’s no one’s business but my own what it is that I buy.
If I find that my personal purchasing habits have been spread across Facebook, I would certainly be making a phone call to the VP of Facebook User Relations (and don’t think I can’t get the phone number. Since I can reach a VP, CS/operations at Microsoft directly, I can get to Facebook’s people too.. It’s because MS has a stake in Facebook that I mention this. I am an excellent researcher)
I would find that it would be something to blog about as a huge negative– and because I have friends and business associates on my page– imagine how they all would feel about finding that their online purchases were being strewen across the Facebook without their permission.
Facebook better rethink this situation as more of a OPT IN rather than an OPT OUT and I won’t shop Overstock now thanks to this 411. (and I was planning to do so)
Facebook, wake up and smell the coffee– make sure you aren’t burning yourselves.. because this blog won’t be the only place this post shows up.
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