Facebook Backs Down on Ad Plans

Social networking site Facebook has cancelled its advertising program, that showed what members were purchasing from ecommerce web sites. The advertising system, dubbed Beacon, let partner sites like eBay and Sony advertise the fact that someone had bought something from them. Users can click on a Beacon box on the site if they want to keep their purchases secret, but in many cases the box disappears after 20 seconds and consent is assumed to have been given.

This aroused the ire of campaign groups like MoveOn.org, which organised a Facebook group with over 59,000 members protesting the system. Protesters complained that the system assumed consent, and Facebook has said user will actively have to opt into the system in the future. "Facebook deserves credit for taking a huge step in the right direction. Their decision will hopefully set a precedent for all websites—that the wish lists of corporate advertisers must not be put before the basic rights of Internet users," said MoveOn.org spokesman Adam Green.

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