Facebook has faced a steady stream of complaints, negative PR, and other criticism after rolling out the “Beacon” component of its new suite of advertiser tools and programs. For those who aren’t up on it, Beacon captures actions and transactions Facebook users conduct on third-party sites and essentially broadcasts those through newsfeeds to their networks. It offers an opt-out feature and doesn’t work when people aren’t signed into Facebook. But people haven’t been happy that users have to opt-out. Most recently, MoveOn.org upped the ante by launching a very public petition drive against Beacon.
This BusinessWeek article now says that Facebook executives are likely to modify the program to appease critics, but risk damaging relationships with partner sites that signed up to benefit from the program.
The best complaint anecdote from the BusinessWeek article is this one: One member complained of a spoiled Christmas after Facebook broadcast the person’s purchases on Overstock.com, a partner site.