Friday, November 30, 2007

"Web users tend to be like sheep."

In response to criticism by, Facebook spokesperson Paul Janzer wrote that, "Your feedback has made it clear that Beacon can be kind of confusing. To fix this, we are clarifying the way we inform you about a Beacon story before you decide whether or not you'd like to publish it on Facebook."

Janzer added that the site was working to make it clearer which retailers were participating in the program through "visual cues," as well as providing more information in help pages. The post makes no mention of discontinuing the program or bowing to MoveOn's demands for an "opt-in" system, where users specifically approve their participation before their purchases are broadcast to friends' pages.

In fact, the 46,000 users in MoveOn's protest group make up less than 0.1% of the site's user base, points out Jeremiah Owyang, an analyst with Forrest Research. That's far fewer than the hundreds of thousands of users who convinced Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to apologize and disassemble a more public version of the site's News Feed application in September of last year.

It's also less than the 436,000 users who have joined "Apple Students" fan group--a sign, according to Owyang, that Facebook's advertising tactic of associating users with brands will win out despite privacy protests. "When you look at how users actually care about personal information, the majority may be concerned, but are they going to do anything about it? Not likely. Typically Web users tend to be like sheep."

Found at Forbes

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