When MoveOn.org created a Facebook petition group to protest Facebook’s Beacon, I joined because I agreed with the principle. Like I said the last time Facebook rolled out a feature that disregarded users’ privacy, what user’s want and what they’ll react negatively to isn’t intuitive. Last time, users rallied together of their own accord to get privacy enhancements ushered in. This time, MoveOn.org led the charge. I’m just glad that Facebook left out the “Awesome!” button this time. -shudder-

Fast forward 3 weeks. Facebook Beacon has been completely overhauled with privacy features, and for most people, Beacon isn’t broadcasting any information for them. In fact, the owners of the petition group declared victory over a week ago:

A news clip from the MoveOn Privacy Petition Group declaring victory of the petition on December 5

Yet MoveOn.org’s Facebook Privacy group is at 77, 000+ members and climbing, by over 1, 000 people each day!

So what does this mean to MoveOn.org? Apparently, they have a new means of petitioning…

MoveOns Facebook group protesting a war in Iran

MoveOns Facebook group calling for an end to the writers strike

…both in the last week. It will be interesting to see which facebook groups will take off, and which will see minimal interest. The protest against war in Iran has only seen 5, 200 members in a week, whereas a petition to bring back the Daily Show and end the Writers’ Strike has drawn 1, 000 interested members within an hour of the email being sent out.

Are Facebook petitions a gold mine for MoveOn? Sure, getting 77, 000 supporters to petition Facebook’s Beacon is nothing to sneeze at: It worked, after all. But compare it to Stephen Colbert getting over 1 million supporters for his Presidential campaign in one week, and it’s a drop in the bucket (and only 1/10 of 1% of Facebookers, given estimates that Facebook is approaching 60 million users).

Is it just that there are more people interested in seeing Stephen Colbert in the White House than in protecting their privacy? Or is it an awareness issue – do people simply not know about everything that’s out there on Facebook? The folks at Facebook probably have access to all of the adoption rates of various groups and applications. I wonder if they have information about critcial Facebook networks – groups of users who, if they adopt something, will cause an explosion of interest. Even if they do, we’ll probably never see it. MoveOn would probably petition that privacy violation with another Facebook group.

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