Facebook retreats on Beacons


When Facebook announced its SocialAds I think everything was fairly accepting of advertising inside Facebook. At the same time they announced Facebook Beacon’s though, which let third-party websites advertise users actions inside Facebook. Unlikely many of the other features inside Facebook, the Facebook Beacons were turned on by default and required users to turn them off.

Jay Goldman from Radiant Core, did an awesome break down of Facebook Beacon process. He went through all the beacon.js functinality and was able to see how the ‘toast’ component of the Facebook Beacon was suppose to be displayed on third-party sites. In a rather non-standard format the ‘toast’ slides up from the bottom of the screen on third-party webpages and displays a message that a Facebook Beacon is about to be presented for the user. Unfortunately the process Facebook used might not work with some browsers and if users missed the ‘toast’ screen the Beacon was automatically sent.

After much up-roar from users about the privacy issues around Beacons, Facebook has decided to change them so that the user has to explicitly confirm that they want a Beacon sent. Techcrunch has a great break down of the Beacon 2.0 process. I think this is a great win for user’s and puts them back in control. One thing you can certainly say about Facebook is that they do listen to their users and respond quickly.