Fandango and Facebook Just Violated My Privacy

I just bought tickets from Fandango to see a movie with my girlfriend later this week. On the order confirmation screen, I noticed a Facebook-looking message peek its head and then quickly disappear. I whipped-out one of my clever hacking tools and made it appear again:

Fandango Publishing Facebook Story

Yes, I see the “No Thanks” link, but the whole dialog was visible for no more than two seconds. Definitely not enough time for me to read it, process what was going on, and act appropriately.

Instead of defaulting to publishing a story in my Facebook profile, Fandango should default to asking me if it can do such a thing and wait for an explicit confirmation either way. After confirming, then maybe it could play this trick again the next time I buy a ticket without me wondering what just happened.

I’m afraid there are going to be more grievous misuses to come.

Update: this new Facebook feature has been getting a lot of press and backlash. So much so that Facebook has now changed the design from opt-out to opt-in…sort of. See my Google Reader Shared Items (via the right-hand navigation) to follow the story.

14 thoughts on “Fandango and Facebook Just Violated My Privacy

  1. Hey Ian! Hope you are doing well… good job with this blog! Happy Thanksgiving!

    While this is definately an opt-out (instead of opt-in) behavior, Facebook offers the ability to manage these opt-outs by use of the “External Websites” link (that link is available on the Privacy page). More info about “Facebook Beacon” is here:

  2. Justin —

    Thanks! I hope you enjoy it. Have a great holiday too!

    Yep, that’s exactly where I went afterwards. I’m all for opt-in, but at least there is an option to opt-out.

  3. Kerrin —

    That’s sort of what scares me. It reminds me of the concerns over DoubleClick–that they can track you as you move from site to site, monitoring you on each one that uses their ad platform. Except this time, since it’s Facebook, it’s “cool.”

  4. you could start to use Firefox… you can specify sites you want to block cookies from. there is also a great plugin called Stealther that allows you to very quickly block/unblock all cookies when browsing.

  5. Yes!!!


    I am spooked speechless! My tix purchase shows up on FB and I am wondering what’s going on. My movie ticket purchases are no business of FBs. This is jeepers-creepers on the Internet.

  6. got it. makes sense how they did it now. I just assumed they used cookies, but Justin’s post helps clarify.
    So, because I use different email addresses for facebook and everything else I do online, does this protect me from this then?

  7. they aren’t using email addresses to find you. I don’t know what they are using, but I bought tickets with my work email and it still ended up on my facebook profile.

  8. Just wanted to chime in this happened to me at work, too. I joined a fantasy football league at work, basically because my boss wanted to go half/half since he wouldn’t be able to manage it full time and neither would I. Outside of work, my friends asked if I wanted in on their league, and I said I didn’t have time.

    Sure enough CBS Sportsline or whatever posted that I joined a fantasy football league to my facebook profile, just like Fandango. My friends seemed a little doubtful when I told them the league I joined was just for work, half managed with another coworker. They thought I was just afraid to play them.

    I was pretty pissed about it.

  9. Ramon —

    And if you were presented with a pop-up asking whether you actually wanted that in your Facebook newsfeed, I’m sure you would have escaped the whole mess. I’m sorry that happened to you.

    Things get ugly when you don’t respect people’s privacy. It’s just too bad we’re the ones who lose!

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