Facebook settlement: Kill Beacon, pay $9.5 million into fund to promote online privacy

Facebook settlement: Kill Beacon, pay $9.5 million into fund to promote online privacy

Summary: A class action suit over Facebook's controversial Beacon program today received preliminary approval (PDF) by a U.S.

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A class action suit over Facebook's controversial Beacon program today received preliminary approval (PDF) by a U.S. District Court, bringing an end to the Beacon service and giving the company an option of clearing the matter without long - and expensive - court proceedings.

The proposal calls for Facebook to discontinue the Beacon program and cough up $9.5 million to set-up a non-profit foundation that "will fund projects and initiatives that promote the cause of online privacy, safety and security."

Beacon, you may recall, was launched back in November 2007 and was designed to allow users to share information with their Facebook friends about the things they were doing on third-party, affiliated sites, including Blockbuster, Fandango, Hotwire, Overstock and Zappos.

At issue was the way Facebook rolled out the service as one that automatically included everyone, instead of an opt-in route where people could enroll if they wanted to. For weeks, users grumbled and eventually the service was switched to an opt-in - and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized for the way Beacon was handled.

The class action settlement affects people who were Facebook members between November 7, 2007 and September 2009 and visited a "Facebook-affiliated website that was participating in Facebook's Beacon program." Parties can choose to do nothing, which means they give up their rights to sue Facebook and the others over this matter later. Parties can also opt-out of the settlement, object to it or attend the settlement hearing.

The settlement is not one where class action members will receive compensation. The legal notice of the proposed settlement will be published in newspapers, as required, but also through Facebook updates, according to court documents.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Enterprise Software, Legal

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5 comments
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  • So "paranoia" is not so abnormal .....

    even if you've done NOTHING wrong! (IE: The wrong could be "being done" to you without your knowledge)!
    kd5auq
  • Free service ... you get what you pay for.

    I find it hilarious that people can sue a company that is giving them a free service.

    I'm not saying that what Facebook did is fair ... but come on!!! You are getting a free service and you were the person STUPID enough to sign up for a service with a draconian contract, ignoring all the evidence available that said that facebook could do what ever they want with the data you freely uploaded information and files.

    Did Facebook violated the trust of their users .... no doubt about it (and it will continue to do).

    Did Facebook scam anybody .... I don't see how. They told the users UP FRONT what they were going to do.

    I don't use Facebook (or any other stupid service) and I hate that people are constantly trying to make me sign up to their stupid page. But I'm not going to chastise a service/company that is LEGALLY trying to make money while giving users the service for free. After all they TOLD YOU WHAT THEY WERE GOING TO DO FROM DAY ONE.

    wackoae
    • No they didn't

      IMHO, the reason everyone got upset was that they told users that they could opt-out of Beacon and then continued to breach their privacy rights behind their backs. They lied and got caught. Whether it's a free service or not doesn't matter. They stole users information against their expressed wishes.
      M.W.H.
  • good idea about facebook

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    gavin.chan
  • RE: Facebook settlement: Kill Beacon, pay $9.5 million into fund to promote online privacy

    ifqvls,good post!
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