TechRadar

Mr. Facebook’s(Mark) Apology Letter to all Facebook users (Beacon Fiasco)

Posted on: January 11, 2008

Below is Mark Zuckerberg’s(Mr. Facebook) blog entry on facebook official blog taking full resp of the big mistake facebook made by Launching Beacon as an Opt-out feature……

For all those wondering what apology, Beacon was Facebook’s path to the holy grail i.e. the world of targeted social ad’s and recommendations…….. which went horribly wrong when users realized their personal data from their daily surfing was being pushed as news feeds among their friends ……..

Guess! it took millions of rantings, wiki demonstrations (also check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Facebook) and blog fights by a section of web society that hates the world of microsoft’s and closed environments to make sure beacon does’nt get into your eyes ….

No matter how much of this happens ……big players of the internet always tend to overlook the core foundation on which Internet has become so powerful…. i.e. the power of consumer on itnernet ….. but I guess that’s why they call it the blues or Uncle sam

Love the way Mark has titled the blog as Thoughts on Beacon instead of what should have been ” I’m still Learning with My age”

Thoughts on Beacon

About a month ago, we released a new feature called Beacon to try to help people share information with their friends about things they do on the web. We’ve made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we’ve made even more with how we’ve handled them. We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it. While I am disappointed with our mistakes, we appreciate all the feedback we have received from our users. I’d like to discuss what we have learned and how we have improved Beacon.

When we first thought of Beacon, our goal was to build a simple product to let people share information across sites with their friends. It had to be lightweight so it wouldn’t get in people’s way as they browsed the web, but also clear enough so people would be able to easily control what they shared. We were excited about Beacon because we believe a lot of information people want to share isn’t on Facebook, and if we found the right balance, Beacon would give people an easy and controlled way to share more of that information with their friends.

But we missed the right balance. At first we tried to make it very lightweight so people wouldn’t have to touch it for it to work. The problem with our initial approach of making it an opt-out system instead of opt-in was that if someone forgot to decline to share something, Beacon still went ahead and shared it with their friends. It took us too long after people started contacting us to change the product so that users had to explicitly approve what they wanted to share. Instead of acting quickly, we took too long to decide on the right solution. I’m not proud of the way we’ve handled this situation and I know we can do better.

Facebook has succeeded so far in part because it gives people control over what and how they share information. This is what makes Facebook a good utility, and in order to be a good feature, Beacon also needs to do the same. People need to be able to explicitly choose what they share, and they need to be able to turn Beacon off completely if they don’t want to use it.

This has been the philosophy behind our recent changes. Last week we changed Beacon to be an opt-in system, and today we’re releasing a privacy control to turn off Beacon completely. You can find it here. If you select that you don’t want to share some Beacon actions or if you turn off Beacon, then Facebook won’t store those actions even when partners send them to Facebook.

On behalf of everyone working at Facebook, I want to thank you for your feedback on Beacon over the past several weeks and hope that this new privacy control addresses any remaining issues we’ve heard about from you.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Mark

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