Thursday, February 28, 2008

"Facebook Retreats on Online Tracking"

This article was published back in November about the protests and controversy surrounding a new facebook application that tracked the sites that users visited or made purchases from and then published it in their news feed. I think this topic was briefly mentioned in class one day. Within days, 50,000 facebook users had signed a petition objecting to this new feature. At this time, there was no option for users to not have this information tracked and published for their friends and others to see. Facebook was trying to gain some advertising revenue by employing this new program. Although many facebook users voluntarily reveal sometimes very personally information about themselves in their profiles, they don't want what they do on the internet, outside of facebook, to be made public. This does seem somewhat hypocritical because people will openly share their personally information about their love life or post drunken pictures of themselves, yet they wouldn't want people knowing that the bought movie tickets on or airline tickets at travelocity. Back around Thanksgiving/Christmas, before I was aware of the new tracking feature on facebook, I remember I was looking for a recipe to bake something for Christmas on Next thing I know, I see in my mini-feed in my facebook profile something like, "jillian has added chocolate chip cookies to her recipe box on". I was kind of shocked and didn't know how it got there or why it was there. So I could see why many people were against this new tracking feature. Because of the mass protests and privacy complaints associated with this, facebook no longer tracks and publishes this information.

1 comment:

Adriana M. Boveda-Lambie said...

Jillian that is quite the story, getting a news feed about you.

Beacon was a big deal that bit Facebook in the a** and forced them to switch the policy to opt in rather than opt out.

When I discussed this in class, I gave the example of people buying Xmas presents only to have them revealed to the person they were going to give the gift to.