Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, November 30, 2021

I had figured the Beacon backlash would prompt Facebook to overhaul its new Social Ads system within days, and that’s just what happened, as the social network has now implemented greater user controls for opting-in.

What’s more, the company’s braintrust explicitly acknowledged the hot-button issue that made an otherwise-theoretical privacy concern real for their users:

Some users have already complained about inadvertently finding out about gifts bought for them for Christmas and Hanukkah after Beacon shared information from Overstock.com. Other users say they were unnerved when they discovered their friends had found out what movies they were watching through purchases made on Fandango…

“We’re sorry if we spoiled some of your holiday gift-giving plans,” Facebook’s Paul Janzer wrote in a posting addressed to Beacon’s critics. “We are really trying to provide you with new meaningful ways, like Beacon, to help you connect and share information with your friends.” Janzer also acknowledged Beacon “can be kind of confusing.”

That’s what it came down to: Putting a crimp in consumers’ precious shopping experience. Hey, whatever works; high principles sometimes come along for the ride as incidental benefits.

I’m most interested in what this means in terms of Facebook’s trajectory as a growing concern. This was a fairly boneheaded move, and I’m surprised more users didn’t acknowledge it as a naked money-grab, implemented ham-handedly. On the business side, the failure of this revenue-generation attempt puts founder Mark Zuckerberg on even shakier ground (given his general inexperience in strategic leadership), and I wouldn’t be surprised if his days were already numbered.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 11/30/2007 08:15:07 AM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Internet
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