After the crushing wave of bad press from bloggers, journalists, and nervous brand managers this week over Facebook Beacon, founder & CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has publicly apologized over Facebook’s handling of the ’07 Beacon Crisis. In a last ditch attempt to save face (ziiing!) Zuckerberg took this morning to write to the people who matter the most, Facebook’s users. Published on the social network’s main blog you can read it in all its glory but to sum it up Zuckerberg basically says Facebook handled things very poorly and can and will do better. He apologizes for Facebook not reacting fast enough to the outcry (more about that below) and announces that Facebook has now enabled a way to completely opt-out of Beacon.
For those of you sitting here scratching your head wondering what the hell Beacon is, you’re not alone. Despite the outcry of a very loud minority that consists mostly of media publicists and PR managers over the potential privacy invasions of Beacon most users have never even heard of Beacon and don’t care. A recent poll on Facebook showed that only a minor 29% of Facebook’s users had any clue what Beacon was or does. Regardless though, and for the better of everyone, you can now choose to not participate in the feature you had no idea you were participating in. To opt-out of Beacon simply go here and disable it.
Beacon was a feature of Facebook’s new Social Ads movement to enable sharing of information and activities of Facebook users outside of Facebook. Its opt-out features were apparently not up to snuff though as they would still submit to Facebook your activities even when you declined to share them or had logged out of Facebook completely. This upset many users to the point where some even said Facebook was ruining Christmas by sharing purchases of gifts bought by users on third party sites with their friends on Facebook. Ouch. When someone points fingers at you and says you’ve ruined Christmas you know the game is over.
Before you get too Grinchy though just opt-out and we can all move on. Facebook made a mistake. A big mistake. But they’ve made a lot of great things too — let’s not forget that.