The long road Facebook has walked with Beacon is finally coming to an end. The poorly-launched, controversial ad service was fraught with peril when it was first introduced in late 2007, resulting in a lot of negative PR for the company. They attempted to salvage the botched operation by offering Facebook subscribers a way to disable
the service, but that wasn't enough.
A while back, Facebook was met with a lawsuit
that demanded action. The company reacted by making some policy changes and crafting a replacement system. Now, a year-plus after the filing, Facebook has finally announced that Beacon will be put out of its misery
as part of a settlement agreement. This is on top of hefty monetary "donations" Facebook is offering to privacy advocate groups. Assuming all goes well for Facebook, this will be the end of Beacon and the long legal campaign against it.
Beacon will go down in history as an example of how good intentions can ruin your reputation. Facebook's biggest error was making the service opt-out instead of opt-in, which caught many people by surprise. The fact it pulled information from third party sites complicated matters, and was a definite mistake from a privacy standpoint.