Facebook Alters Beacon program

Facebook has faced objections from users and privacy groups since it launched the Beacon program earlier this month. The controversial program notifies a user's Facebook friends when the user buys a product at, or in some cases just visits, a partner site.

Facebook has apparently seen the light, making changes to the Beacon program to make it an opt-in program, rather than an opt-out one, according to the NY Times.

Facebook still does not offer users an option to opt out of the program altogether, other than to stop publishing their feed to friends. Users can opt out on a case by case basis with each advertiser, which Facebook has made more prominent.

Previously, when a user bought something from a participating advertiser, a pop-up box notified the user that it would send that information to Facebook, with an option for the user to click "No thanks." If the user didn't, a message would pop up at their next Facebook visit asking for permission to share that data with the user's friends.

Now, the pop-up box will ask for permission, assuming the answer is "no" unless told otherwise. The box will also remain on the screen longer, making it easier for users to notice.

About the author

Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.

Before the bubble burst, Kevin was a marketing manager for an online computer reseller, handling copywriting, e-mail marketing, search marketing and running the affiliate program.

With a combination of real-world marketing experience and years of business journalism, Kevin brings to ClickZ a unique ability to deliver news and training materials that help online marketers do their jobs better.