Facebook has closed its ‘info sharing’ online ad scheme amid privacy concerns. The Beacon system shared information about users’ information on third-party partner sites in Facebook news feeds. The move comes after the settlement of a year-old class action lawsuit that targeted its alleged failure to provide adequate information and privacy controls to users on the Beacon system.
A group of Facebook users claimed there was a failure to provide proper information on how their data was being used.
As part of the settlement, which is still pending approval from a judge, a $9.5m “settlement fund” has been established to set up an independent foundation to “fund projects and initiatives that promote the cause of online privacy, safety and security”, according to a release.
In a statement, Facebook representative Barry Schnitt said: “We look forward to the creation of the foundation and its work to educate internet users on how best to control their privacy; engage in safe social-networking practices; and, generally, enjoy themselves more online by having knowledge that gives them a greater sense of control.
“We fully expect the foundation to team with other leading online-safety and privacy experts and organisations that have been working diligently in these fields.”
The suit was filed in August 2008 on behalf of 20 plaintiffs, most of whom were Texas residents. Named as defendants were Facebook, along with current and former Beacon participants Blockbuster, Fandango (owned by Comcast), Overstock.com, STA Travel, Zappos, Hotwire (owned by InterActiveCorp), and GameFly.