National

Sep 21, 2009 1:42 PM by Associated Press

Facebook shuts down thorny marketing tool

Facebook is closing an uncomfortable chapter in its five-year history. The social network says it will shut down Beacon, a program that tracks users' activities on other Web sites. When it launched in 2007, Beacon was immediately attacked by users as a privacy violation.

It tracked purchases Facebook users made on other sites and sent alerts about them to their Facebook friends. Facebook later let users turn Beacon off, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicly apologized for it.

Beacon never really caught on, and Facebook agreed to end it as part of a class-action lawsuit settlement.

The Palo Alto, California-based Facebook company will also pay $9.5 million to create a foundation to promote online privacy, safety and security.

The proposed settlement must still be approved by a judge.

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