After insisting earlier today that its Beacon problem existed only in the mind of “pundits”, Facebook finally agreed that there is a problem, after all.
Facebook isn’t turning Beacon into a fully opt-in program, as we and others have suggested they do — but it is giving Facebook users control over each Beacon notification, which is pretty close. This should mollify most critics, and it does the trick for us. We don’t really care if Facebook or third parties are looking at what we’re doing, because we assume that happens whenever we go on the Web. We just don’t want Facebook or others sharing that info with others…
So Facebook gets demerits for its ham-handed approach to Beacon, but credit for addressing its goof within a month. By New Year’s this should be a non-issue.
But! Facebook continues to apply a creepy double-standard about information. It’s more than happy to share your personal data with friends and/or advertisers, but it remains fetishistic about its own privacy: The WSJ reports that Facebook is trying to force Harvard alumni magazine 02138 to take down court documents it published alongside a story about the legal battle over Facebook’s origins.
The docs, which have been republished by Valleywag and others, make Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg come off like a nasty, scheming jackass. So we get why Mark and co would prefer they not be splashed across the Internet. But they are. And as countless others have realised by now, once something’s on the Web, it doesn’t go away, no matter how many lawyers you hire. Best to acknowledge there’s no opt-out here and get on with it.
Related: SAI Facebook Coverage