Facebook has recently launched a new version of F8 (their development platform) with Open Graph connectivity. You can now “Like” fanpages (instead of “Become a fan”) and with external sites like Pandora, if you “Like” the website (connect to it) you’ll get updates on music. This is basically Beacon in a new dress. For example, say I had a button called Like on this blog. You could click on that Facebook Like button and your friends on Facebook will get a newsfeed item saying “WhateverYourNameIs likes LaurelPapworth.com”. But it doesn’t stop there. Now everytime you are on Flickr, or Slideshare, my stuff will come up first. Good for me. But do you really want to be tracked like that? – from wikipedia:
Beacon was a part of Facebook‘s advertisement system that sent data from external websites to Facebook, ostensibly for the purpose of allowing targeted advertisements and allowing users to share their activities with their friends. Certain activities on partner sites were published to a user’s News Feed. Beacon was launched on November 6, 2007 with 44 partner websites. The controversial service, which became the target of a class action lawsuit, was shut down in September 2009.
The issue is that it wasn’t opt-in,even though they changed that around later the damage was done and questions were being asked and lawyers consulted:
Q. If I buy tickets on Fandango, and decline to publish the purchase to my friends on Facebook, does Facebook still receive the information about my purchase?
A. “Absolutely not. One of the things we are still trying to do is dispel a lot of misinformation that is being propagated unnecessarily.”
I never disliked beacon and I’m not surprised they came around for round two. They just had to get privacy vs connectivity right:
This next version of Facebook Platform puts people at the center of the web. It lets you shape your experiences online and make them more social. For example, if you like a band on Pandora, that information can become part of the graph so that later if you visit a concert site, the site can tell you when the band you like is coming to your area. The power of the open graph is that it helps to create a smarter, personalized web that gets better with every action taken. Mark Zuckerberg
See? Beacon but with value to the member first, advertiser second.