An initiative, known as Facebook Beacon, tracks members' purchases and activities anywhere on the Web, but within days of the November 2007 launch, a very vocal protest erupted effectively forcing Facebook to dial back its initiative, and to issue a major mea culpa. The new parameters change the program from an opt-out system to an opt-in model that includes what founder Mark Zuckerberg called a privacy control to turn off Beacon completely. Nevertheless, as Facebook continues its attempts to take targeted and viral marketing to the next level, marketing may get more invasive, signaling the imminent need to confront security issues across the entire Web. Despite recognizing the basic value of a user's private information, Facebook remains on thin ice. Even in its stripped-down version, Beacon holds the promise of changing the way marketers market -- provided enough members opt in, of course.
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