Rethinking privacy in social networks: A case study of beacon


Popular online social network sites (SNS) such as Facebook and Bebo are technological platforms that are posing questions about personal privacy. This paper contributes to our understanding of the nature and form of online privacy by critically analysing the issues surrounding the failed launch of Facebook’s advertising tool Beacon. Beacon is an interesting case study because it highlighted the complexity of information ownership in an online social network. Qualitative data was gathered from 29 weblogs (blogs) representing user opinions published between 6th November 2007(when Beacon was launched) and 28th February 2008 (when commentary had dwindled). A thematic analysis of the blogs suggest that concerns such as commercialism, terms of service (TOS), lack of user control, lack of user awareness and data protection are factors that influence user perceptions of information ownership as a subset of online privacy

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