In case you live under a rock or haven’t read news in ~2 weeks online, Facebook Beacon is an application which allowed third-party web sites to access your Facebook cookie and post messages to your activity feed regarding your purchases.
For example: “John bought Finding the Perfect Job at Amazon.com” – how would you like your boss seeing that one in your activity feed!
(Note: I don’t believe Amazon actually participated – it’s just an example. Jeff, please don’t sue me).
Well, the powers that be at Facebook have finally publicly apologized for the whole snafu.
In what is becoming a bit of a tradition, Zuckerberg addressed the angry multitudes directly in a blog post titled “Thoughts on Beacon“:
We’ve made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we’ve made even more with how we’ve handled them. We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it. While I am disappointed with our mistakes, we appreciate all the feedback we have received from our users. I’d like to discuss what we have learned and how we have improved Beacon.
They also created, and Zuckerberg linked to, a single global setting enabling you to block beacon: Privacy Settings for External Websites
Even this setting is a bit difficult to understand, though, since it appears to say that you will still recieve notifications on those third party sites that they are requesting to send stories to Facebook:
Show your friends what you like and what you’re up to outside of Facebook. When you take actions on the sites listed below, you can choose to have those actions sent to your profile.
Please note that these settings only affect notifications on Facebook. You will still be notified on affiliate websites when they send stories to Facebook. You will be able to decline individual stories at that time.
So when I check the box marked “Don’t allow any websites to send stories to my profile,” am I still going to have to decline individual stories?
One assumes not, but I guess they haven’t had time to change the interface the external providers use, so they will still make requests.