A Beacon of … creepiness?

It’s now been about a month since I got my Facebook account, and I still feel ambivalent about the experience. It’s been fun connecting with some people I haven’t connected with lately. However I am a bit concerned about the potential for too much personal/confidential information getting shared with not only Facebook “friends” but with the world.

However what really strikes me as creepy is the newly announced Facebook Beacon. If I understand it correctly, it’s an advertising scheme that will allow Facebook users to add companies to their “friends” list. Subsequently the user’s activities with that “company friend” will be shared on Facebook. For example if I add Blockbuster to my friends list, and then rent Earnest Goes to Jail, the Facebook community may see that choice as being representative of my movie taste (well maybe it is representative, but not everyone needs to know that).

If that loss of privacy is the price I need to pay for a free service, don’t expect me to stick around Facebook.

I think the title of this Globe and Mail article, “Creepy genius Facebook Beacon” is appropriate.

2 Responses to “A Beacon of … creepiness?”

  1. Matt says:

    Hmm, that’s interesting. Definitely one of the things that has kept Facebook at an arm’s length from me has been the idea of too much connection, too little separation. For me that’s good and bad, but the movie rental idea is kind of funny.

    I would presume that it’s an option one would not have to engage in, but a little weird, nonetheless.

  2. Phil L says:

    “I would presume that it’s an option one would not have to engage in…”

    Another article on the CBC website states, “Facebook has also responded by saying there is no way to opt out of this system, although the site will introduce controls that allow you to block the sharing of data with specific individual websites.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/tech/hightech/facebook-beacon.html

    I don’t know exactly what that means.