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Facebook will modify, not spike Beacon ads

A message board post from a company employee suggests that while the advertising application isn't going away, Facebook is responding to user complaints that it's invasive and difficult to opt out of.

In the wake of reports that suggested Facebook might be close to axing its controversial Beacon advertising program altogether, a company employee has come out and said that while changes to the application are imminent, it's not going away.

This follows a BusinessWeek report from Wednesday that indicated the program would be tweaked or even eliminated altogether.

Beacon, a component of Facebook's new "Social Ads" initiative, was assailed soon after its debut by leftist activist group over what the group saw as grave privacy concerns. MoveOn stepped up its rhetoric earlier this week when it brought up evidence suggesting that Facebook had intended to make participation in Beacon easier to opt out of, but had changed the application shortly before its launch.

Now it looks like Facebook will be making some changes.

Facebook customer support representative Paul Janzer responded to the complaints in a post on the message board for the Facebook group that MoveOn had begun as a hub for its anti-Beacon campaign.

"Your feedback has made it clear that Beacon can be kind of confusing," Janzer wrote. To fix this, we are clarifying the way we inform you about a Beacon story before you decide whether or not you'd like to publish it on Facebook. We're also working on making the sites that offer Beacon more visible to you, both on Facebook and through visual cues, so you can determine which specific sites you can publish stories from." In addition, Facebook will offer expanded information about the advertising program on its site.

And in response to some dissatisfied Facebook users who said that Beacon ads had broadcasted their entire holiday shopping lists to their "news feeds," Janzer added the quick apology, "We're sorry if we spoiled some of your holiday gift-giving plans."