Facebook has its eyes on you

Om Malik has an interesting post regarding Facebook’s new ad-mechanism, which involves over 40 partners at present.

These partner sites put a little a piece of Facebook javascript on their web site and certain information, cleverly (and innocuously) labeled as a user alert, is sent to Facebook. For instance, Fandago users can publish information about the movies they saw. It all seems like a clever idea because it lets Facebook triangulate your likes and dislikes even more, and deliver more focused ads.

The javascript on the Fandango site pops up a little screen which asks if you want to publish the information on Facebook. If you say no, your friends won’t see the information, but apparently Facebook still receives it. This means that if you are a Facebook member, Facebook will know what you are doing on each of their partner sites. And there is no way for you to opt out of that. Or is there? I asked Facebook to clarify and I am still waiting for them to write back.

It’s one thing to know about what your customers do on your own site, but way different to be snooping on them wherever they go without their knowledge. That said, I wonder how many will care. For some it will never be acceptable; others may initially find it creepy; lots may give it a “whatever” shrug.

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