Is Facebook Listening In? Yes, with Facebook Beacons
Ian Lurie Dec 2 2007
Marketing Conversations (no relation) has a synopsis of a Computer Associates article regarding Facebook’s Beacon. I think Facebook has gone too far this time.
Facebook Beacon is a 3-line code snippet that webmasters can add to their sites. The Beacon then transmits user behavior back to Facebook.
Here’s a quick example: I have a Facebook account. I visit an e-commerce site that uses the Beacon. When I make a purchase, my Facebook profile page updates to say “Ian just bought four widgets on www.thesite.com”.
Facebook is accumulating an enormous database of people’s online habits. That data is connected to each individual account, and, according to Computer Associates, Facebook isn’t allowing account holders to opt out.
This goes beyond Google’s search history. While Google logs my search history, I can turn it off, or clear the history (cynics will say Google’s still recording that data and linking it to my account – I can only shrug and ask for proof, please).
On the other hand, this data is marketing gold. If I know the last 4 sites you visited and what you did on those sites, I can send you exactly the right message, at exactly the right time. I can even follow up and ask you why you didn’t purchase my product.
It’s also creepy.
What do you think? Are you considering leaving Facebook because of this?
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More