Friday, November 23, 2007

Facebooks Beacon

OK, I take it back. After learning more about how Beacon and Facebook's social advertising scheme actually works, I now think it's creepy. The idea that Facebook is essentially following its users around the web is disturbing, as is the way in which the "opt out" functionality is implemented. While the idea of advertising as social recommendation is obviously appealing to advertisers (and some users), I don't think this particular strategy is the holy grail. Interestingly, when I talked my undergraduate students about it, they did not seem that concerned, although they did remark that if the ads got too overwhelming they'd leave the site. Facebook's reaction -- specifically whether it revisits the design of this feature in response to user protest -- will be interesting to follow.