Privacy group takes on Facebook

Online watchdog argues that Facebook's Beacon or Social Ads ad program, which seamlessly and automatically sends messages to friends and acquaintances, when a user buys an item from a partner website, violates personal privacy.

Canadian website Globe and Mail explains how Social Ads works "When Facebook users make a purchase at one of the sites using Beacon, a small box pops up in the corner of their Web browser, informing them that their data will be shared with Facebook unless the user clicks "No Thanks." The next time the user signs into Facebook, a second confirmation notice pops up. If the user simply ignores the two notices without "opting out" then consent is inferred."

Some users have argued that Beacon has ruined their Christmas and birthdays because they could actually see what their partners and friends had purchased for them beforehand.

Worringly enough, purchases can reveal much more than you would intend. Buying a book on how to prepare your CV, might send the wrong messages to your colleagues.

Facebook allows users to disable sharing information from its 40 partner websites (including Fadango, Sony and Ebay) on a site by site basis and they can't leave the program totally.

The social networking website has also introduced new means that allow user to choose what kind of news feeds they approve or disapprove.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's creator, has recently been trying to monetise the traffic on Facebook and has received a USD 240 million investment from Software Giant microsoft, last month.