Facebook beacon is watching you!

big broI, like many other of you out there, have a Facebook page.  I am not certain why, I guess it has to do with this entire open source, social networking thing. 

Facebook, like this blog, has led friends and acquaintances back to me, like a beacon.  Which brings me to Facebook Beacon.  Simply put, Facebook Beacon is an intrusion into your privacy that notes when you make online purchases and notifies your fellow Facebookies. 

For example, if I purchase a book online from Amazon all my Facebook friends will know what I have bought.  It’s good for Amazon in terms of advertising and it is good for Facebook in terms of advertising revenue, but it is bad for me if I have just purchased a copy of “S & M for Dummies” ($26.95, this week only).  Or if I decide to purchase Depends online from DiapersRUs.com, or take advantage of that special on dildos at sextoys.com.

Peter McGarvey is snacking on Planter’s Dry Roasted Cashews and drinking a Diet Sprite while he is writing this.

Hell, we already know that advertising is insidious, unethical and downright dishonest, but now it will invade our privacy to an extent never imagined.  And it carries the stench of Big Brother to boot. 

Peter McGarvey is writing this entry on his new Toshiba Satellite laptop, while he is connected to his D Link Wireless Router which in turn is connected to Rogers High Speed internet service. 

Now, if I make a purchase that I think is great I am happy to let people know – my LG DVD Player comes to mind – but when a social network decides to broadcast my online spending habits to the world, I have to put my foot down and opt out.  Oh wait a minute, there is no opt out option here except on a case by case basis.

It’s bad enough that we broadcast our wild partying and weird sexual fantasies to the world – and any potential employer savvy enough to run your name on Facebook and MySpace – but at least we do it voluntarily. 

Peter McGarvey is thinking about the stuffed crust pizza from Pizza Hut that he will be enjoying with a couple of Coors Lites tonight for dinner.  After that, he will be watching the DVD of Live Free and Die Hard from 20th Century Fox Home Video while staying warm snuggled under his lap duvet from Restoration Hardware.  The film will look great on his Toshiba Flat Screen Television and Kenwood Digital sound system.

Advertising is intrusive enough – making us feel empty because of all the things we need to buy to make us happy or cure the diseases we didn’t know we suffered from – without robbing us of our final slim threads of privacy as well.

The sad reality is that we have become Facebook junkies and we can’t let go of our social network fix.  In the words of the immortal Hunter S. Thompson, “You buy the ticket and you take the ride”.

This posting was brought to you through the kind support of Toshiba, Pizza Hut, Kenwood Electronics, LG, Adolf Coors and Company, Kraft Foods, 20th Century Fox Home Video, Cisco Systems, Rogers, the Coca Cola Company, Restoration Hardware and readers like you.

One Response to “Facebook beacon is watching you!”

  1. Tricia Dower says:

    I’m so glad you wrote this, Peter. I’ve read other concerns about Facebook related to those on its Board and their links to government intelligence agencies. We are only too willing to participate in the loss of our civil liberties.

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