Blog Post

Facebook's Peepin' is Creepin' Me Out--READ THIS!

Amy Jussel of Shaping Youth wrote a very important response to myencomium about Facebook, alerting us to Beacon, an invasive feature onFacebook that automatically charts your purchasing and political onlinechoices and broadcasts them to your friends. MoveOn and otherorganizations have worked against this feature which is not only aboutsurveillance and invasion of privacy but also micro-targetedadvertising based on your prior shopping preferenes. It aims this atkids, not just adults, on Facebook. In every way, this crosses theline and that's why I urge you to read Jussel's blog, to sign thepetition against Beacon, and to join "Facebook Don't Invade My Privacy." The clever "Facebooks Peepin's Creepin' Me Out" title is not mine--it is Jussel's excellent title for herblog at There is a linebetween convenience (I love the birthday alert function) andsurveillance--and Beacon crosses it. As Cory Doctorow insists, and as I often remind readers in this blog, for adults, we may well remember the "before" of privacy, the pre-911 idea that invasion of privacy and surveillance are not the same as "safety and security." But, for kids, even college-age kids, there is no "before." Safety and security and acquiescence to invasion of privacy are everyday life, protections against terrorism and other forms of violence.  The implications for democratic life are appalling if a generation is growing up accepting state and commercial surveillance under the guise of protection.  Or convenience.  We must be on our guard, always, against this. Amy's Shaping Youth blog includes url's for excellent articles on this subject, instructions for how to get read of Beacon on your own Facebook page, a petition to sign against Facebook organized by MoveOn, and a user group against Beacon. I am copying Jussel's comment to my previous blog entry below and I urge you to read her whole blog entry and to take action.  I still love my Facebook dawdling, but now I have my guard up.



I found myself nodding in agreement with your depiction of yourintermittent 'tavern' stop of intimacy on your Facebook profile, buthave to say, I'm not the least bit wild about the new 'opt-out' defaultcontrols of this busybody beacon that flags friends re: where you'vesurfed, shopped, or spent...WAY too invasive putting the controls inthe hands of marketers and the onus on users to 'opt-out' rather than'opt-in and share by choice' (by far my preference)

I just posted a ton of embedded links on the controversy (clearlyFacebook didn't learn their lesson in '06 when they auto-pinged infowidely to friends w/out asking) therefore, I have just officiallyjoined the "Facebook Don't Invade My Privacy" group of virtual friends.

Here's the article I just wrote on Shaping Youth that tells how toREMOVE the beacon, as well as a round-up of some of the recent pressand brouhaha. It's titled, "Facebook's peepin' is creepin' me out"

I'd like to think I can follow these steps to set my privacy controlsto eliminate my concerns and get back to the 'friendly tavern'fuzzies...

But right now I've got a hefty dose of obstinance and huff pushingback at Facebook's arrogance, setting default decisions that work inadvertiser's favor, not the greater good of John Q. Public. Bleh.

Might have to shift to a new tavern. Cheers...




When you buy a book or movie online--or make a political contribution--do you want that information automatically shared with the world on Facebook?

Most people would call that a huge invasion of privacy. But social networking site Facebook began doing just that. People across the country saw private purchases they made on other sites displayed publicly to everyone they know on Facebook. Why? To benefit corporate advertisers.

Other sites are looking at Facebook's example to see if they can get away with similar privacy breaches. We need to draw a line in the sand--making clear that the wish lists of corporate advertisers must not come before the basic privacy rights of Internet users.

Let's get Facebook to stop invading our privacy. Sign the petition at

Then join the Facebook group "Facebook, stop invading my privacy!" and tell your friends.


Nice to have my comment 'heard' so stridently and acted upon so quickly...such is the beauty of social media's digital power. wow. Impressive!

After all, this is just 'what we do' at Shaping Youth, reveal the impact of media/mktg. on youth, analyzing the ramifications of the 'good, the bad, and the ugly' from the 'inside out' by being beholden to no one (and a bit laser-tongued when something irks on the ethical front! ;-)

Frankly, YOUR fast action is the real story here...The power to mobilize via social media when a ping or a prod pokes a nerve, brings citizen journalism to a whole new level and bodes well for change agents on a global scale.

In fact, the Chicago Trib is interviewing me today on that very one blogger/one org/one mashup/one voice can alter the conversation these days.

They're covering the YouTube Unilever video I wrote about which reveals the Dove/Axe polarity of moralistic media messaging housed under the same multinational family umbrella; same parent company, divergent media messages)

Rye, who produced the mashup spot was my interview subject, and he also approached this from 'the inside out' my guess is this is what they're interested in talking about...The potential alteration of the cultural zeitgeist via dramatic shift in points of view (whether it's politics, advertising, or fashion floof).

Once the veil is lifted, and the public sees the 'real story' there's bound to be reverb, since people then have enough info to make their own choices and decisions.

Much like the 'truth' campaign/anti-smoking teen initiative, nothing counter-markets better than the truth itself. That's our strategy at Shaping Youth.

Industry will respond when they're whacked in the wallet, and if they see that social media enables voices to carry far and wide, they may begin to behave with the ethical accountability and responsibility we'd always hoped for.

Up until now, 'profit over prudence' has been the corporate m.o., with little regard for the long term impact on humanity. That's all changing...Social media and digital dialogue is helping that happen in nanoseconds by pointing out the 'big picture' with voices that shout out in global reach.

You just did that thanks, for being a change agent and making a difference with a keystroke by paying it forward with your blog! :-)


A column in today's Wall Street Journal also addressed Beacon; the columnist surveyed Facebook users for their opinion of Beacon, and most were opposed to the activities that it makes public.


Last week we changed Beacon to be an opt-in system, and today we're
releasing a privacy control to turn off Beacon completely. You can find
it here.
If you select that you don't want to share some Beacon actions or if
you turn off Beacon, then Facebook won't store those actions even when
partners send them to Facebook.