List Of Companies That Participate In Facebook's Beacon Spy Program

One of our readers yesterday left a couple of interesting links in the comments section of our Beacon post. They provide the names of the companies that Facebook says are participating in its poorly conceived spy program Beacon. Here they are:

  • AllPosters.com
  • Blockbuster
  • Bluefly.com
  • Busted Tees
  • CBS Interactive (CBSSports.com & Dotspotter)
  • Citysearch
  • CollegeHumor
  • echomusic
  • ExpoTV
  • Gamefly
  • Hotwire
  • iWon
  • Joost
  • Kiva
  • Kongregate
  • LiveJournal
  • Live Nation
  • Mercantila
  • National Basketball Association
  • NYTimes.com
  • Overstock.com
  • Pronto.com
  • (RED)
  • Redlight
  • SeamlessWeb
  • Sony Online Entertainment LLC
  • Sony Pictures
  • STA Travel
  • The Knot
  • TripAdvisor
  • Travel Ticker
  • Travelocity
  • TypePad
  • viagogo
  • Vox
  • Yelp
  • WeddingChannel.com
  • Zappos.com

One site points out that Redlight is a mysterious addition—”I couldn’t find any site that went by that name that wasn’t an adult site.” We found something called Redlight Poker—maybe that’s the participating company?

[Updated to include missing companies—thanks Phantomfly!]

“Leading Websites Offer Facebook Beacon for Social Distribution” [Facebook] (Thanks to Gary!)

RELATED
“41 Sites Using Facebook Beacon–Facebook to Know Your Porn Viewing?” [dcoates.com]

Comments

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  1. nevin says:

    Well they just all made my list.

    Yours,

    Richard Nixon.

  2. BigNutty says:

    How many new advertisers do you think will join this list now due to the bad publicity?

  3. Why is LiveJournal on the list?

  4. Half Beast says:

    Oh, Sony Online Entertainment…still desperately grasping at potential users.

  5. ElizabethD says:

    Zappos, you are now, sadly, history to me.

  6. chartrule says:

    even more bad publicity for face book

    Facebook Inc. is seeking a Canadian court order that would force Rogers Communications Inc. and Look Communications Inc. to hand over details identifying hackers who may have stolen personal information from people on the popular social-networking Web site.

    The California-based company says it needs customer information from the Canadian Internet providers for a civil lawsuit it has filed against the unnamed hackers, who gained unauthorized access to Facebook’s system.

    Court documents allege the hackers may have swiped personal information about Facebook members, including user names, passwords and e-mail addresses.

    It is not clear how many Facebook customers were affected or where the hackers live.

  7. chartrule says:

    The alleged incidents occurred between June 1 and June 15, with the hackers improperly gaining access to Facebook’s private data system more than 200,000 times during that period, the lawsuit says.

  8. mrosedal says:

    I contacted facbook about this whole issue explaining that I want to see an opt-in method or at worst an opt-out. They responded by assuring me that beacon will not send anything without my approval and a bunch of other garbage.

    I wrote them back and let them know that I don’t want to be pestered by every little thing I might due on a website. Haven’t heard back from them.

    The main thing I want them to know is that the entire program is unsuitable for me. It seems like the facebook people have in their head that the users will just come around…there is no coming around for me. Either they disable the feature or give us an option to.

    On the upside I only use three of those websites…and one very seldom…so I won’t be getting a lot of beacon requests anytime soon.

  9. Quellman says:

    I only use one of those sites, Trip Advisor.
    But thank you for posting the list for me, the lazy.

    This may turn into one of those updated sagas, just less frequemtly than Walmart and their SS shirts.

  10. TheDTrain says:

    I recently ordered food from http://www.campusfood.com and it asked me if I wanted everyone to know that I had just ordered Mad Greeks Pizza. No, I’m good thanks. I’m not sure of the parent company, but it’s there.

  11. kimsama says:

    How to block Beacon in Firefox:

    Wikihow

    Sad that it’s come to this. I just wrote a letter to Blockbuster, Zappos, NYT, and Yelp informing them that I will no longer be a customer if they participate in invasive advertising.

    Facebook has no reason to change unless the people giving them money (the businesses, not we customers) start applying pressure.

    ElizabethD, please write Zappos so they know why you won’t be a customer anymore.

  12. does anyone have a link to an article with cliffs about what this Beacon thing is all about? I’ve been reading stories about how bad it is, but I haven’t seen anything that actually explains what it is doing… or “supposed to do”

  13. SeraSera says:

    I’d be mad at LiveJournal, but I’m still stuck on “bought out by a pro-Putin Russian oligarch, eliminating a major platform for free speech in Russia and, also, will I still be allowed to post pictures of shirtless Putin?”

  14. atalantapendragonne says:

    Oh, no, not Zappos! They were so GOOD otherwise.

  15. thatblackgirl says:

    If I don’t have a Facebook, should I be worried? The only thing I have on this list is a login at NYTimes.com.

  16. phantomfly says:

    Once again, blocking Beacon using the technique in the WikiHow article DID NOT WORK for me. (I double-checked that I had followed instructions properly.) Allposters tried to send a story to my news feed anyway.

    The one site on that list that really bothers me – even though I don’t use it – is Kiva. Is Facebook really going to say “John Smith lent $25 to a small business in Bangladesh”? WTF?

  17. Sam says:

    @BrandonOBrien: Essentially, it (a) allows companies to post things about your activity onto your Facebook page if you approve, and (b) allows those companies to send data about your activity to Facebook WITHOUT YOUR APPROVAL.

  18. SVreader says:

    Thanks! It’s good to know what to avoid.

  19. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    This is all completely avoidable by NOT installing the Beacon “application” on Facebook, right??

  20. phantomfly says:

    Missing from the list (mentioned in the press release):

    CollegeHumor
    Busted Tees
    iWon
    Citysearch
    Pronto.com
    echomusic
    Travelocity

  21. phantomfly says:

    @pinkbunnyslippers: No. It’s not an application. You don’t have a choice as to whether these sites will collect this information about you.

  22. Lin-Z [linguist on duty] says:

    I love Zappos, I can’t believe that they’re in on this.

  23. hiphopnerd says:

    @phantomfly:

    Ok then, that’s where I’m confused. How do any of these sites know what your facebook account is in order to send the information?

  24. @phantomfly: Thanks for catching all of those. I’ve added them to the list in the post.

  25. timmus says:

    I should just set all those sites in my hosts file to 127.0.0.1 for starters.

  26. Three Word Chant says:

    The PC World/Computer Associates story that revealed how much more Facebook was actually stealing used Epicurious.com as an example and that’s not on here either.

  27. DrGirlfriend says:

    I’m bummed about Zappos. I might just write to them.

    I was surprised about Kiva, too, but then I remembered that on the Causes application, if you give money, it registers on the application itself(there’s a line that says $X donated”.) I’m guessing that’s why they’re linked?

  28. dasunst3r says:

    I’ve never shopped at those places anyway. Facebook somehow needs to learn that only “yes” implies consent — anything otherwise is… well… insert your own terms here.

  29. kimsama says:

    @thatblackgirl: Apparently, the Beacon-affiliated sites are reporting back to Facebook on your actions regardless of whether you are a Facebook member or not: see here for some toned-down techniness.

    Which would mean that while the date isn’t being shown on Facebook for nonmembers, it’s still being collected.

  30. kimsama says:

    Also, funny related story on NYT: Zuckerburg wants his privacy when information points to his stealing Facebook’s code and idea from fellow students. He wants to opt out of having those documents shared? Aww, that’s precious.

  31. kimsama says:

    @phantomfly: Sorry it didn’t work for you. I did notice a typo in the Wikihow:

    Where it says type in “http*://*facebook.com/beacon/*”, you should really type in “http://*facebook.com/beacon/*” (of course without the quotes). Note that it incorrectly instructs you to put in an additional asterisk after the http, but in the image, shows that’s not the right code — use the one in bold here.

    Obvs, that needs an edit on the page.

  32. Andy S. says:

    @hiphopnerd: Odds are that facebook installs a cookie that identifies you with a unique user number or something (thus this only working if you tell Facebook to “remember you” at login). Beacon participants probably look for this cookie, and then send Facebook the activity info paired with your user number. Facebook matches the user number to a user, and there you go.

    All in all, the best way to make this a non-issue is to just cancel your Facebook account, if you have one. Facebook is pretty useless anyway, I don’t understand why so many people have so much difficulty dumping it.

  33. kimsama says:

    @kimsama: Wow, four in a row? I suck. Also, I edited the Wikihow with the correct line you’ll want to add in.

    I tested it on Yelp and Blockbuster with FF 2.0.0.11 and it notified me it was blocking Beacon, and then I checked FB and indeed, nothing had shown up.

  34. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    @Andy S.: It’s a good way to keep in touch with old friends. I know I’ve got a HS reunion coming up, and everyone is using it for that purpose – a joining place of sorts.

    But this is absolutely ridiculous. I thought Beacon was just an application, but now that I know this is just a really sneaky spyware-type scam, I’m not a fan!

  35. m0unds says:

    I’m still loving the double standards associated with social networking. No one is afraid to submit all kinds of personal data to a website over an unsecure connection with the potential of it easily being sniped by a third party, but everyone’s up in arms about a service which discloses purchasing and surfing habits to the same community they’ve already given all their information to? Silly.

  36. @DrGirlfriend: I’m shocked that Kiva is on that list too. I mean, Kiva’s a non-profit for microloans to small businesses in developing countries. They’ve got a lot to lose if donors can’t trust them.

  37. chartrule says:

    going by what is says on the facebook website about beacon its added to the webpage’s of the companies that opt in

    Add 3 lines of code and reach millions of users.

    Simply determine which user actions you would like publish to Facebook and add a few lines of code to your web page. Facebook Beacon actions include purchasing a product, signing up for a service, adding an item to a wish list, and more. When a user performs the action, they will be alerted that your website is sending a story to their profile

  38. chartrule says:

    it says your supposta be alerted and given the option to opt out

  39. othium says:

    I just canceled my account. (“Deactivated” is what they said on the site. I wonder if it is possible to erase it altogether?)

    Thanks for the informative article.

  40. jodles says:

    campusfood.com is also participating. i ordered dinner online last night and it asked me if i wanted it to post on my profile.

  41. hiphopnerd says:

    @Andy S.:

    That would make sense…but then how does that correspond to the statement that some of those analyzing the code have said- that the partner sites are sending everyone’s info, whether they belong to facebook or not?

  42. I have a hard time dumping Facebook simply because it has friends that I don’t see on MySpace, and friends that I don’t really want to share with on MySpace. However, the interface (and now this) are thoroughly horrible and annoying. The only company on that list I use is LiveJournal, and even that I only have to read, not to post.

    I may have to look at who I really care about on Facebook and then terminate my account after contacting them.

  43. @kimsama: Re. Zuckerman and his own “privacy issues”—there’s a post on that going up a little later today. :)

  44. floydianslip6 says:

    @kimsama & @Andy S.: That’s the sketchball thing, the information is being collected regardless of your use of the website. if you can track down the legit TOS and not the dumbed down, non legal one on their site you’ll see it mentions that they reserve the right to collect information about you from various sources regardless of your use of the website.

    @m0unds: I don’t get this either man.

    Have none of you seen: [www.youtube.com] ??

  45. kimsama says:

    @Chris Walters: Cool beans. ^_^

    @othium: Apparently you would have to delete each and every album, wall post, etc and withdraw from every group — if you deactivate and then sign back on with the old username and password, it apparently still has all your data:

    Facebook does allow people to ‘deactivate’ their accounts. This means that most of their information becomes invisible to other viewers, but it remains on Facebook’s servers – indefinitely.

    This is handy for anyone who changes their mind and wants to rejoin. They can just type their old user name and password in, and they’ll pop straight back up on the site – it will be like they never left.

    From this site (U.K) and this one.

  46. stardeo says:

    Is the Redlight company Red Light Runner which sells Out of Print Apple stuff?

  47. nevermindtheend says:

    I deleted (not just deactivated) my account yesterday. I was an early adopter, but the clutter on the site and now this have pushed me over the edge. Yes, it was a useful way of tracking people, but it’s not worth dealing with it now that it’s turned evil.

  48. nevermindtheend says:

    @kimsama:

    I deleted every bit of information and then emailed privacy@facebook.com and told them I wanted the account deleted permanently. It seems to have worked.

  49. Tikabelle says:

    @kimsama:

    I emailed privacy@facebook.com and asked them to remove all of my data information from their servers, since “deactivating” my account seemed exactly the same as logging out. I got some form reply, but after a couple of emails back and forth I was finally told that in order to get my information erased, I should:

    1) log into Facebook and delete all my profile information, then

    2) email privacy@facebook.com and inform them that I had done so and to erase my account.

    I recieved an email back stating that my information had been erased from their servers, and sure enough I was told that I needed an account to log in. Whether I was truly erased or not I’m not sure, but I certainly can’t log in using my old user name/pw. Good riddance to bad luggage, I say.

  50. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @phantomfly:
    Iwon is still in business?
    Why & How?
    Who is stupid enough to waste time there?
    Besides, of course, the morons that respond to Nigerian emails.

  51. mrnovum says:

    Add Fandango – they gave me a beacon popup when I bought some tickets earlier this week.

  52. @Rectilinear Propagation: Judging by the ad on saw on somebody’s blog last night, LiveJournal is using Beacon to announce when users have added new blog entries.

    I imagine that they’ll eventually expand it to things like announcing when users leave comments on other blogs.

  53. overbysara says:

    contact zappos: [www.zappos.com]

    they’re too good to be part of this.

  54. Sam says:

    Epicurious should definitely be on there. I tested it a day or two ago and they were still participating.

  55. sibertater says:

    I wonder about this now that LiveJournal has sold out to the Ruskies. You can bet I’ll be informing everyone on my comrades list.

  56. sibertater says:

    @mrnovum:

    I fucking HATE fandango.

  57. Trackback says:

    Now that we know all about Beacon, Facebook’s online marketing initiative, we can feel better knowing that Facebook is striving to respect their users’ privacy. Yeah right!

  58. Fist-o™ says:

    @phantomfly
    Perhaps the first * is to include [] as well as []

    a guess….