Is Facebook Ads Beacon a Privacy and Identity Theft Threat?
Facebook, the rapidly expanding social networking site, with their
announced new ad targeting system may be an invasion of consumer
privacy from the sharing of their user's purchases from at least 44
In a CNet interview with MoveOn.org, purchases made with
participating online retailers will be automatically be shared with
anyone you are associated with on Facebook.
"...is that no Facebook user should have their private
purchases online posted for the entire world to see
without their explicit opted-in permission."
To provide readers an inside view into how invasive this information
sharing has become even with the initial announcement by Facebook,
consider the following listing of their initial group of their participating
- Busted Tees
- CBS Interactive (CBSSports.com & Dotspotter)
- Live Nation
- National Basketball Association
- Sony Online Entertainment LLC
- Sony Pictures
- STA Travel
- The Knot
- Travel Ticker
In all fairness though, Facebook does provide consumers the
ability to opt-out of the information sharing. However, according
to MoveOn this privacy saving features is rendered effectively
useless by Facebook's implementation:
"The opt-out is very well hidden,"
"It basically pops up for a second and
then goes away, and it's on the bottom
of your screen when you're purchasing
on a totally unrelated Web site, so
you aren't even looking for it."
"...there's not a universal opt-out,
so members have to repeat the process
on each partner site."
"I think Facebook probably needs to
do a better job of warning people about it.."
We agree, Facebook could do a better job of warning consumers
of the dangers of information sharing - especially purchase
information over the internet.
So, until that happens we can share at least one consumer's
solution to the Facebook Beacon information sharing problem.
Our tip for today, at least for Firefox browsers, provides a way
to block the Facebook Ads system and their beacons from
reporting your information.
We recommend you consider that tool in your continuing
fight to prevent unnecessary invasions of your privacy -
especially those which can result in identity theft.