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Facebook Beacon

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Facebook[3] Beacon is a controversial feature introduced by the social media[2] giant Facebook in 2007. Initially launched with 44 partner websites, it sent user data from these external sites to Facebook to facilitate targeted advertising[1]. However, it raised significant privacy[4] concerns as it shared user activities on News Feed without their consent[5], using a 1×1 GIF[6] web bug and Facebook cookies. This led to widespread criticism and legal challenges, with Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, admitting it was a mistake in 2011. The feature was shut down in 2009 following a class-action lawsuit, which resulted in a $9.5 million settlement for privacy violations and the establishment of a $6 million fund for online privacy initiatives. Despite the controversy, Beacon’s legacy influenced future online tracking regulations and discussions on data sharing ethics, shaping Facebook’s current privacy policies.

Terms definitions
1. targeted advertising.
1 Targeted advertising is a marketing method that focuses on delivering promotional content to specific audiences. This strategy involves gathering and analyzing user data to tailor ads to individuals' interests, behaviors, and demographics. There are several types of targeted advertising, which include internet service providers tracking website visits, search engine marketing, and using platforms like Google's Search and Display Network.The technique also extends to social media, with platforms harnessing behavioral targeting and geotargeting. For instance, Facebook uses micro-targeting based on user data. Additionally, there are various targeted advertising techniques, such as content, contextual, technical, time, sociodemographic, and geographical targeting.Moreover, targeted advertising is prevalent in mobile and television sectors. Mobile ads utilize consumer location and time, while television ads focus on demographics and interests. Cable boxes and over-the-top video platforms also facilitate targeted advertising. All these methods aim to increase advertising efficiency and relevance.
2 "Targeted advertising" is a marketing strategy that involves gathering and analyzing user data to deliver personalized ads relevant to individual consumers. This strategy can be implemented across various channels such as search engines, social media, television, and mobile devices. Companies, internet service providers, and websites collect user data like preferences, behaviors, and demographics to make ads more relevant. Platforms like Google Ads allow advertisers to reach specific audiences, even retargeting specific website visitors. Social media platforms leverage user data for personalized advertising, allowing advertisers to target users based on interests, likes, demographics, and other factors. Television ads can target viewers based on age, gender, location, and interests, while mobile advertising uses location and time data to serve ads tailored to consumer schedules and environments.
2. social media. Social media is a broad term encompassing a variety of digital tools and platforms that facilitate the sharing of information and the creation of virtual communities. Emerging from early systems like PLATO and ARPANET, it has evolved into modern platforms like Facebook and Twitter. These platforms offer unique features that differentiate them from traditional media, including the ability for users to generate content and engage in dialogic communication. They cater to over 100 million users globally and offer different forms of services, such as messaging apps and collaborative content creation platforms. The use of social media has far-reaching impacts on individuals, society, and businesses, influencing everything from marketing practices to political processes. However, it's also associated with ethical concerns, such as the spread of misinformation and potential addiction.
Facebook Beacon (Wikipedia)

Beacon formed part of Facebook's advertisement system that sent data from external websites to Facebook, for the purpose of allowing targeted advertisements and allowing users to share their activities with their friends. Beacon reported to Facebook on Facebook's members' activities on third-party sites that also participated with Beacon. These activities were published in users' News Feed. This occurred even when users were not connected to Facebook, and happened without the knowledge of the Facebook user. The service was controversial and became the target of a class-action lawsuit, resulting in it shutting down in September 2009. One of the main concerns was that Beacon did not give the user the option to block the information from being sent to Facebook. Beacon was launched on November 6, 2007, with 44 partner websites. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, characterized Beacon on the Facebook Blog in November 2011 as a "mistake." Although Beacon was unsuccessful, it did pave the way for Facebook Connect, which has become widely popular.

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