In our first installment of the ongoing battle between Facebook and Mspace.com, for the title of “Best social network”, Facebook won hands down. But in the rematch Myspace.com comes out swinging and it looks bad for the heavily favored Facebook.
For the past month I have been following the news stories and press releases about Facebook. Apparently, Facebook has a software program called Beacon that gathers your purchases from about 44 different web sites. Then it puts that information on your home page so that your friends can see your purchases.
HELLO! Can we all say privacy issues!
This article has a good example of what Beacon does:
"Let's say you buy a book from a particular book shop online, who happens to be an advertiser teamed up with Facebook. Facebook watches your action and puts it up in your news feed section announcing to your friends that you have bought “x” book from “abc” bookshop owner."Or, let’s drop the whole book idea and let’s say you buy a "marital aid". Do you want that information published to all of your friends on Facebook? I think not!
One thing that article does not point out is that you don't have to be logged into Facebook for this action to happen. You don't even have to be a member of the network according to this article.
Here are a few articles that should shed even more light on the subject.
- This one talks about the HORRIBLE PR that Facebook has been using too extinguish the issue.
- This one talks about opting out of the program. The issue with the whole opting out thing is that you're just opting out of having your purchases put up in your news feed section on Facebook, your friends won't see your purchases, but your information is still collected by the program, and then given to the business partners of Facebook.
- MoveOn.org had a HUGE problem with this aspect of the whole controversy.
- If you want to sign the petition to stop Facebook from collecting your data go here
- If you don't want Beacon to even collect your data go here or here and follow those instructions. (I'm not condoning these instructions and I don't know if they will work or not. Furthermore, I can't guarantee that they won’t bust your machine.)
So after two rounds of Facebook vs. My Space we are currently all tied up at one apiece. Stay tuned for the third and final round.
tagged: Facebook, MySpace, beacon, marital aid, MoveOn, social networking, privacy