Let me stipulate a few facts:
* I live my life online.
* I have gotten very used to a certain (large) lack of privacy in most traditional senses.
* I am in favor of business relationships with independent media creators.
But the way that Facebook’s Beacon is setting cookies and sending my very specific online behavior (at selected sites) back to it’s databases not in the aggregate but assigned to my personal data, is going too far.
Beacon is getting a lot of bad press, but this article in PC World hits bottom for me.
I am going to boycott Facebook for now. Please join me. Let their traffic plummet and see how fast the users can speak.
If you think you need to use Facebook for some reason, you can use Firefox and manually block at least some of this bad behavior.
From gigaom here are some of the participating sites that I also plan to boycott:
The 44 sites that have partnered with Facebook include everyone from Kongregate, LiveJournal, NYTimes (NYT), Sony Online, Blockbuster (BBI), Bluefly.com, STA Travel, The Knot, TripAdvisor, Travel Ticker, TypePad, viagogo, Vox, Yelp, WeddingChannel.com and Zappos.com. I’ve also heard Fandango and Epicurious.
I am happy to announce our client, Here Comes The Guide does not participate, so all you brides? Stay away from The Knot and Wedding Channel! And head over to the nice, ad-free Here Comes the Guide site and plan your wedding in peace and privacy. FYI, they have a great business model and are an excellent example of a company that provides a great service and expertly balances the desires of brides with the sustainability of bridal vendors.
UPDATE: When I said “related sites” in the title, I was referring to the 40+ sites who are in on the Beacon tracking system with Facebook, and was not lumping all social networking sites into the pot. Innocent until proven guilty applies here.
I am glad there is forward movement on the Beacon situation, but this closing remark indicates there is more work to do:
Last week we changed Beacon to be an opt-in system, and today we’re releasing a privacy control to turn off Beacon completely. You can find it here. If you select that you don’t want to share some Beacon actions or if you turn off Beacon, then Facebook won’t store those actions even when partners send them to Facebook.
“even when partners send them to Facebook”?? Let’s keep at it folks. Don’t track data to individuals. Consider us a herd if you must, but let us retain the semblance of privacy that can exist in the aggregate while you attempt to figure out how to reach us. (Even though countless among us are posting on this topic daily.)