Opt-in may save Facebook brand

Facebook responded to a significant user revolt (50,000 signatures) who demanded that the Beacon system be turned into an opt-in program. For the last 3 weeks, Facebook was turning personal buying decisions over to online friends and info-hungry companies such as Fandango.com and Blockbuster… that is, unless users opted out of the Beacon program. Now, they have to choose to share their info if they want.

Mark Zuckerberg by Craig Ruttle/AP I believe for colleges the most important lesson is the volatility of a brand. Just a few weeks ago, the Facebook brand was so golden that Microsoft was willing to pay $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in the company. Today, and for months or years to come, the Facebook brand is tarnished because of decisions that put its profitability ahead of its clients’ interests. Its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has also no doubt sustained some negative PR baggage. Here’s what Mark said: “We’ve made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we’ve made even more with how we’ve handled them.” Indeed.


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