Monday, December 03, 2007

Facebook: from social networking to stalking in one click

So as some of you may have heard, Facebook has developed and released a new advertising program, part of which is called Beacon. Beacon sureptitiously lets Facebook follow you around the internet and log where you go, what you do and I`m sure plenty of other information which they have no business collecting.

Beacon is an opt in program for advertisers (i.e. sites you visit) but is a partial opt out program for you, the user, and that`s what bugs me. The more companies that sign up for Beacon, the easier it will be for Facebook to track your movements across the intertubes. Here`s how (I understand it) to work:

Say you go to to check out what movies are available to rent. Once there, a little pop up box will probably appear saying roughly `you`re looking at movie X, do you want us to put that interest on your facebook profileÉ`. If you`re cool with this, say yes and life moves on. However, even if you say no, Facebook still collects the data. Scary!

So, what to doÉ First, here`s an article that better explains the problem, but more importantly tells you how to block the information from being sent to Facebook in the first place. Second, spread the word - let people know! There`s power in numbers, and Facebook has capitulated in the past to pressure from users. Third, join the rebellion! Buy a Che Guverra hat (this situation constitutes an exception to the cuban dictator hat ban described here) and let Facebook know that this isn`t cool and they have to change their tactics.

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