Thirty-two Facebook users signed onto a class-action suit against Facebook and several of its Beacon partners, including Blockbuster, Fandango and Overstock, Hotwire, STA Travel, Zappos.com and Gamefly. Facebook Beacon was the service that reported to a Facebook user's friends that user's activity on partnered sites elsewhere on the Internet. The suit alleges that between November 7, 2007 and December 5, 2007, Facebook did all this without asking first. Technically Facebook did ask, with little pop-up dialogue boxes on partner sites, but apparently they were hard to spot. Still, Beacon did spoil the surprise of a fair number of Christmas gifts, which, as we understand the tradition, are supposed to remain a secret until opened.The users want Facebook and its partners to delete all stored information, the return of any "ill-gotten gains" — of which we understand there to be none — and for the court to "award restitution." If the plaintiffs win the case it'll at least be interesting to see how much our justice system values a good Christmas surprise in monetary terms. Meanwhile, the technology behind Facebook Beacon is back, but now its called Facebook Connect and now its entirely opt-in.
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