Online activist group MoveOn.org is poised to announce a campaign targeting Facebook's "Beacon" advertisements, which post information about users' activity on partner sites (movie rentals, purchases from online retailers) onto their friends' News Feeds. According to MoveOn representatives, the organization considers this to be a "glaring violation of (Facebook's) users' privacy," and has launched a paid ad campaign on Facebook, a "protest group" on the social-networking site, and an online petition to encourage the company to allow users to opt into the program at their own volition.
"The bottom line," MoveOn spokesman Adam Green said in an interview with CNET News.com, "is that no Facebook user should have their private purchases online posted for the entire world to see without their explicit opted-in permission."
It's true that Beacon advertisements are limited to the news feeds of the people on a user's friends list, but Green said that doesn't make a difference. He cited Facebook user testimonials that ranged from members who said their entire Christmas lists had been published on their News Feeds (spoiling many a surprise in the process) to student activists who were concerned that sensitive purchases might show up and result in serious consequences--"If a college kid rents Brokeback Mountain and some homophobic person on his campus sees that, that could be a real problem," he explained.