Beacon saga; facebook apologises


Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted on the company blog last week apologising for missteps with the roll-out of their much maligned  Beacon advertising system. "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," he wrote.

Zuckerberg goes on to apologise specifically for "taking too long" to make the system opt-in rather than opt-out (where the site assumed no answer to the Beacon prompt was a ‘yes’ and went ahead and shared information). Last week Facebook made Beacon opt-in site-by-site, and they’ve added a privacy control that allows users to shut off the program completely.

One thing that can be said for sure about Facebook: even though they don’t always get it right the first time, they listen to their users and iterate continuously until they hit something people are happy with. When they first released the newsfeed and mini-feed last year, users were outraged that their information was being shared without their control to friends. Since then, Facebook has included increasingly more fine grained privacy controls that allow users to control what info gets published. The result? The newsfeed is often credited as one of the most appealing and important features of the network.

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