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Zuckerberg on Beacon: “We’ve Made a Lot of Mistakes”

For the first time in over a year, there’s a serious enough issue with Facebook that CEO Mark Zuckerberg was compelled to write on the company blog (normally handled by lesser underlings developers and directors).

You get ten guesses what the issue was. And if you didn’t guess “Project Beacon,” you’re in big trouble. We’ve been covering this one for a while: announced almost a month ago, within weeks they were facing an FTC complaint threat and outraged users which lead to drastic changes.

And now they’ve done themselves one better: Facebook has apologized. Actually, Mark Zuckerberg did the apologizing, saying:

We’ve made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we’ve made even more with how we’ve handled them. We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it. While I am disappointed with our mistakes, we appreciate all the feedback we have received from our users.

As part of this apology, he states that they didn’t find the right balance between convenience/ease of use and privacy/invasiveness. He also announced that Facebook users will now have the ability to turn off Beacon completely.

Interestingly, the last time Zuckerberg posted on the Facebook company blog, it was to apologize for the invasiveness of the News Feed and Mini-Feed features, introduced late in summer 2006. Sounds like they didn’t learn their lesson.

It’s so nice to hear someone admit that they did something wrong and that they’re working to fix it, isn’t it? But will MoveOn.org . . . move on? Will Facebook users forgive them?

  • http://www.dailybits.com Daniel @ Daily Bits

    Despite his acknowledgment of the mistake, I think this will have other repercussions for Facebook. You can’t fool people twice, so users will be careful now.

  • http://www.u-g-h.com Owen Cutajar

    Hmm, the interesting thing is that you and I are aware of Beacon and it’s impact on Facebook’s users, but I suspect that the majority of my Facebook mates don’t have any idea about this!

  • Eduardo

    Good. I still will have a sour taste in my mouth for awhile but at the very least they admitted they put their eyes on $$$ signs before their own community.

    @ Owen, I suspect you are probably right. Most Facebook users probably don’t even know what the hell Beacon is.

  • http://www.broadstuff.com alan p

    It is still sending all your data, Opt in or Out.

  • http://www.gowfb.com GoWFB

    LOL i loved how you struck out ‘lesser underlings’ and substituted that with a more politically correct and acceptable term.

    I feel it is very responsible of the CEO to apologize and attempt to make amends.

  • http://bushidoblog.com.ar Zen

    It takes a lot for a person to step up and admit one’s mistakes. That speaks well of Zuckerberg.

  • http://www.wpromote.com/blog Mike Mothner

    When you are dealing with the issue of protecting privacy, you have to be immensely careful, which unfortunately, is something Facebook has failed to do. In terms of overlooking privacy concerns, users will become wary fast if standards are not upheld and ensured, which is something that Facebook has now violated twice. Although Zuckerberg has now apologized, it might not be enough to fully regain users’ confidence.