Facebook Alters Shopping Stalker

The New York Times says that Facebook will be making a slight change to “Beacon” the feature that tracks users purchases throughout the web and broadcasts them to their friends.

Late yesterday the company made an important change, saying that it would not send messages about users’ Internet activities without getting explicit approval each time.

MoveOn.org Civic Action, the political group that set up the online petition, said the move was a positive one.

“Before, if you ignored their warning, they assumed they had your permission” to share information, said Adam Green, a spokesman for the group. “If Facebook were to implement a policy whereby no private purchases on other Web sites were displayed publicly on Facebook without a user’s explicit permission, that would be a step in the right direction.”

Facebook did confirm that they would not allow users to universally opt-out of all information sharing, and are convinced that users will come to love the “Beacon” just as they’ve come to love the “News Feed.” Overstock.com has already dropped the “Beacon” feature until it becomes totally opt-in, says the NYT.

Facebook Retreats on Online Tracking [NYT]