Talk:Facebook Beacon

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The "See Also" Section[edit]

Hi, can someone talk a bit about why all of the references in the See Also section are included? Although the controversy currently surrounding Beacon involves invasion of privacy, it seems that these exact same references could be plopped into other articles where such privacy breeches could be an issue. There are no references to web advertising, to social networks, or anything else related to what Beacon is, other than the ramifications of Facebook's recent actions. eksortso (talk) 02:43, 7 December 2007 (UTC)


The "See Also" section right now only links to "right to privacy". The "References" are the citations for the article content itself. Please feel free to add what you think is relevant to the "See also section. Emcee (talk) 06:48, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

That being said, I just removed the "see also" links that were added by someone else that had a very tangential (at best) relationship to the article's subject matter... and at worst, a conspiracy-theorist relationship to the subject matter (e.g., totalitarianism, governmentalism, video surveillance, etc.) Sometimes we need to remember WP:NOR. Emcee (talk) 06:17, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

It looks like those "totalitarian" links are back. This is ridiculous. Whoever keeps doing this should stop. I would like to refer people to Wikipedia to understand Facebook Beacon. It's disturbing enough without going nuts like that. So I'm removing those links again. Flipzagging (talk) 21:22, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Panopticon is a type of surveillence structure discussed by Michel Foucault in Discipline and Punish where a centralized figure can see the actions of all those in his field of view, but those users cannot see back to the central figure and their access to others is controlled by the central organizing figure - a structure that exactly describes Beacon; Big Brother is another iconic reference to a totalitarian surveillance system; London's Ring of steel is another privacy invading surveillance system; the Information Awareness Office at DARPA was headed by Facebooks second largest investor and Beacon was approved by this person (you can research yourself online); Mass surveillance "is the pervasive surveillance of an entire population, or a substantial fraction thereof. Mass surveillance may be done either with or without the consent of those under surveillance, and may or may not serve their interests" - the link there seems pretty clear; Right to Privacy (which you agree on, but which does not begin to address the totalizing surveillance that Beacon undertakes (and continues to undertake - assembling information on users even after they "opt out") making "Right to privacy" the only see also is misleading; The Transparent Society(1998, ISBN 0-7382-0144-8, ISBN 0-201-32802-X) is a non-fiction book by the science-fiction author David Brin in which he forecasts the erosion of privacy, as it is overtaken by low-cost surveillance, communication and database technology - sounds right to me;
I took out Governmentality which was suggested by a friend, and Omniscience which seems too co-opted by the religious types; Totalitarianism because that is more governmental (despite facebook's ties to such); The Traveler suggested by another anti-Beacon site; and Video surveillance because they aren't there yet; and Total Institution because that seems more like Carrefour.
Also, See Also always goes above References on the Wikipedia as standard form.
I cannot address why you are afraid to send your friends to Wikipedia just because of some links to other articles. Learning is fun! Being informed is funner! Believe it or not many many people are upset about Beacon and consider it a dangerous step in the erosion of privacy. The fact that Facebook backed down somewhat should inform you that people were really not happy and that these theories and subjects were aligned in the discourse with Beacons antics! At least at the university level (where facebook started).
I hope this is a compromise that we can agree on. (I did not proofread this so the links might not work, but you know what I am referring to one would hope). Saudade7 22:39, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
I think government and video surveillance has no direct or established connection to Beacon; while you may be suspicious of what they are doing with data that is sent to their system, to imply otherwise in an encyclopedic article without the support of reliable sources falls outside of WP:NOR. If you can support the connection of the TIA office person to Beacon, then please add this to the article (and documentation in the reference section) -- but even with a person in common, that doesn't necessarily mean that there is a connection between the organizations of Facebook and TIA, or that Facebook is sharing its database with the government. Again, if you can produce some reliable published information to this effect, that would be worth adding to the article.
So, I still can't support Big Brother, Ring of Steel, Information Awareness Office. Most of the others are marginal at best.
Regarding your other comments, I am well aware that many people were upset about Beacon -- in case you didn't notice, I created this article and much of its current content. However, as authors of a Wikipedia article, we have to strive for [[WP:N] in our edits, and make sure that we are not using the article as a platform for our own opinions and commentary -- that's what blogs are for. The article needs to be based on facts and information from reliable published sources, not our own extrapolations. Emcee (talk) 17:43, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that's why I took video surveillance and the government ones out. I put the other ones back in. I *do* understand that you started this page, but Wikipedia is an open encyclopedia that anyone can edit. I feel that you are too emotionally attached to the article - wanting it to be what you envisioned when you started it. But it is time to let go and allow other people to contribute. No one owns an article on the wiki. As an example of your deletions, The Information Awareness Office, as I mentioned above is actually financially connected to Facebook / Beacon. If you want to balance the article to what you consider to be NPOV then feel free to add "See Alsos" that do what you think Beacon wanted to do. Personally I don't know what your thinking is. That said, you are the one reading an unneutral point of view into something like the IAO which was (is?) and actual organization in the US government and as such, someone somewhere must have thought it was the best idea since sliced bread. It isn't like I put, See Also: Hitler and Satan. These are real organizations, fictional and philosophical representations of the Beacon organizing priniciples etc. There are some people who see the eradication of privacy as a good thing - like high school kids and the leaders of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. Everything has its supporters and detractors which seems to make it pretty neutral in the vast scheme of things even if I personally feel a certain way about it. Also, I have been on here since 2002 so I really have read the rules (just because you seem to address me as though I haven't a clue about neutrality). Happy New Year! Saudade7 23:07, 5 January 2008 (UTC)


I at least took out Big brother.I find it absolutlely ridicolous that anything that has to do with privacy would link to 'big brother' 19:27 13 january 2008
And I am re-removing Ring of Steel and IAO. Unless and until you can add some kind of documentation (hopefully from a Reliable Source) on the financial connection between IAO and Facebook, I will continue to do so. Something like this would be much better as a part of the article anyway, if it can in fact be substiated.
My intention in starting the article was to provide an encyclopedic summary of the current public knowledge about the Facebook Beacon program and its partner sites. I would say that I'm probably as concerned about the privacy implications as you are; however, I am also interested in being fair and having a NPOV; this includes deleting unsubstantiated information that could create a false impression of what Facebook actually is. Regards, Emcee (talk) 02:32, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Words like OSTENSIBLE don't really indicate an NPOV.

merge to Criticism of Facebook[edit]

This is a discontinued feature of Facebook. Does not deserve a standalone article. Cd watch vital (talk) 09:15, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Actually, it was a big news story in its own right, sparking controversy and eventually a Class Action Lawsuit against Blockbuster, based on the Video Privacy Protection Act. The fact that it is a discontinued feature is all the more reason it deserves its own article! As Facebook continues to age, this controversy may become less important as a portion of the company's history, but the event itself does not lose importance. --Knulclunk (talk) 09:51, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
Could you provide a source indicating the discontinued status? Dancter (talk) 10:31, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
I have to agree, I've heard nothing of it being discontinued, not even from Facebook's Beacon page. --Powerlord (talk) 15:24, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Can we remove the merge tag?--Knulclunk (talk) 02:25, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Go ahead. I doubt Cd watch vital is coming back. Dancter (talk) 02:32, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Lawsuit[edit]

The new language "...corporations that activated Facebook Beacon when they released their common member's personal information to their Facebook user friends without their consent through the Facebook Beacon program." is terribly confusing. Can we get a rewrite? --Knulclunk (talk) 01:15, 3 October 2008 (UTC)