November 21, 2007

MoveOn Moves Into Some Really Deep Water [8:12 am]

And some interesting questions about roles and expectations: Latest target of MoveOn: Facebookpdf

At issue is Facebook’s new advertising program that lets its members notify friends about movies they rent, items they auction and movie tickets they buy at partner sites elsewhere on the Web.

Facebook allows its members to opt out of the ad system, called Beacon. But MoveOn.org contends the program violates users’ privacy by requiring them to opt out rather than voluntarily opt in. “The sole reason for this new feature is to serve corporate advertisers and make it easier for them to micro-target Facebook users with ads,” MoveOn .org spokesman Adam Green said. “Breaching privacy is against the type of community Facebook should be striving for.”

MoveOn.org is buying ads, organizing a “protest group” and circulating an online petition to pressure Facebook to allow its more than 55 million users to change its opt-out method.

[...] Not everyone agrees. Longtime MoveOn.org member and online advertising network executive Scott Rafer is so enraged, he’s moving on from MoveOn.

“If they wish to go after consumer privacy rights legislation, then fine,” he said. “When they are trying to get a bunch of people together to stage a sit-in at a for-profit start-up in Palo Alto, then give me a break, get me off your e-mail list. Even if this does turn out to be the right cause, it’s the wrong organization.”

See also Anita Ramasastry’s first pass at Facebook’s “Fan - sumers”: Do Social Ads Violate Users’ Privacy?

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