Facebook will shut down Beacon to settle lawsuit
It will spend $9.5M on a foundation devoted to online privacy issues
IDG News Service - Facebook has agreed to shut down its much maligned Beacon advertising system to settle a class-action lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed in August 2008, alleged that Facebook and its Beacon affiliates like Blockbuster and Overstock.com violated a series of laws, including the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Video Privacy Protection Act, the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act and the California Computer Crime Law.
The proposed settlement, announced late on Friday, calls not only for Facebook to discontinue Beacon, but also back the creation of an independent foundation devoted to promoting online privacy, safety and security. The money for the foundation will come from a $9.5 million settlement fund.
"We learned a great deal from the Beacon experience. For one, it was underscored how critical it is to provide extensive user control over how information is shared. We also learned how to effectively communicate changes that we make to the user experience," said Barry Schnitt, Facebook's director of policy communications, in a statement.
Facebook is looking forward to the creation of the foundation, which the company expects will team up with other safety and privacy organizations, Schnitt said.
The settlement agreement needs to be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, where the lawsuit was filed.
Beacon, launched with much fanfare in November 2007, quickly became one of Facebook's biggest nightmares. Intended as a key piece of Facebook's "social ads" strategy, Beacon was designed to broadcast back to their friends the actions that Facebook members took on participating Web sites.
These notifications were intended to act as a new form of "social" advertising, because they amount to endorsements of products made by trusted friends.
Facebook members found Beacon complicated, as well as intrusive and stealthy. Many people were horrified to find out their friends were being informed of actions, like purchases, they had undertaken on other Web sites.
Security experts and privacy advocates soon joined the chorus of critics. Although Facebook modified Beacon several times, it never took off and has languished in obscurity.
Despite the Beacon fiasco, Facebook executives insist the advertising business of the privately held company is solid and growing. In addition to offering traditional online ads like banners and pay-per-click ads, Facebook continues to develop social ads and marketing vehicles, like its Facebook Pages, which organizations can use to promote their brands and products.
This pilot fish is a contractor at a military base, working on some very cool fire-control systems for tanks. But when he spots something obviously wrong during a live-fire test, he can't get the firing-range commander's attention.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Reduce federal infrastructure risk with compliance management and situational awareness
- IBM continuous monitoring and management solutions deliver real-time situational awareness to help federal agencies understand vulnerabilities, and protect the infrastructure.
- Datacenter eGuide
- Read on to learn what technologies are essential for high-performing data centers today, and to get a glimpse of what the data center...
- EndPoint Interactive eGuide
- In this eGuide, Network World, Computerworld, and CIO examine two endpoint trends - BYOD and collaboration - and offer tips and advice on...
- The Business Value of Continuous Delivery
- Download this whitepaper to learn more about the business value of Continuous Delivery and see why it could be a game changer for...
- Ten Factors Shaping the Future of Application Delivery
- Download this research report conducted by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) to learn how those that are seeking to accelerate application delivery are leveraging... All Government IT White Papers
- It's not too late...Get Your Mobile Questions Answered Live! How can IT provide seamless and secure mobile communications and collaboration for all? Join this live Webcast as IDG asks an expert panel...
- On-demand webinar - 7 Keys to Service Catalog Implementation Success Watch this webinar to learn 7 crucial keys to make your service catalog a success!
- Transform Your IT Service Management Watch this webinar, to learn how EasyVista can increase IT productivity & efficiency and deliver streamlined & integrated IT Service & Asset Mgmt.
- IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency...
- Leveraging Flash Storage to Accelerate Oracle Real Application Clusters Join this webinar to understand the latest solid-state storage trends, the specific applications driving solid-state storage deployments and the benefits of deploying the...
- All Government IT Webcasts