Mark Zuckerberg apologized for the Beacon mess yesterday, and added a way for all social ads to be turned off — at least within Facebook.
But if you logon to the site, the “Privacy Settings for External Websites” page has a rather confusing message.
On the one hand, the page says, “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.”
On the other, it says, “Don’t allow any websites to send stories to my profile.”
Clarity. I’d like clarity.
The silent transmission of data about actions on third-party websites to Facebook poses a serious risk, and must be mitigated by both prominent notice to the user, and a binding commitment on Facebook’s part to handle the data properly.
Nevertheless, yesterday’s announcement seemed to placate the masses. Caroline McCarthy at CNet News got some Beacon partner reaction.
Personally, I think what caused so many problems for Facebook’s Beacon launch was arrogance and perhaps greed. They’ve been through the privacy riot before, when news feeds were first introduced. They could have done better, it’s true. But given their past experience, they should have done better by putting their users, and not their advertising partners, first.