The Beacon Problem, Put Another Way

An argument, in dialog form:

Ethan: I’d like to buy this copy of The Producers.
Blockbuster Clerk: Ah, the original. Good choice. That’ll be $14.99, and can I get your name for our records?
Ethan: John Doe.
Blockbuster Clerk: Thank you for your business, Mr. Doe.

Phone: Bbbbbring!
Ethan: Hello?
Joel: Ethan, you bastard! You told me you preferred the remake!
Ethan: I did, I mean, I do, I mean, wait, how did you find out?
Joel: It says you bought the original version on your Facebook page.
Ethan: What? How did Facebook find out?
Joel: I don’t know, loser. (Hangs up.)
Ethan: Philistine.

Ethan: Aha! What’s this in my Blockbuster bag?
Beacon: Hi! I’m a Facebook Beacon!
Ethan: A what?
Beacon: A Facebook Beacon! I communicate with Facebook headquarters so all you can keep all your friends up-to-date with your doings!
Ethan: I didn’t ask for a beacon, did I?
Beacon: No, that’s the great part. You don’t have to! Blockbuster put me in your bag with your movie.
Ethan: Why, those bastards!

Ethan: Why did you stick this … this thing in my bag with my movie?
Blockbuster Clerk: It’s a value-added service we provide for all our customers now.
Ethan: I didn’t ask you to!
Blockbuster Clerk: And we’re genuinely sorry about that, Mr. Doe.
Ethan: What did you just call me?
Blockbuster Clerk: I called you “Mr. Doe,” Mr. Doe.
Ethan: Then how did your stupid beacon know my name?
Blockbuster Clerk: It doesn’t, Mr. Doe. We only program our beacons with the names of the movies we sell. We take your privacy very seriously.
Ethan: Obviously.

Ethan: Okay, beacon thingo, how did you know about my Facebook account?
Beacon: Why that was easy! I was in your house, so I just used your telephone to call up the Facebook headquarters and told them where I was, and they figured out the rest.
Ethan: You told them where I live????
Beacon: No, no, no, sir. They already knew where you live; I just told them I was there, and that I had a wonderful, funny movie with me!
Ethan: Did I tell you could use my phone?
Beacon: Well, sir, I asked you for permission.
Ethan: I don’t remember that.
Beacon: It was right when we got home, and you went outside to walk the dog, and I’m afraid I may have been a bit quiet. But you didn’t object, so I assumed it was okay.
Ethan: Well, it wasn’t. Don’t do it again.
Beacon: I won’t, I promise.
Ethan: I’m glad that’s settled. I’d better call Joel and patch things up.

Ethan: Joel? It’s me, Ethan. Look, about that movie …
Joel: I don’t want to hear it. You also told me you couldn’t come to dinner at the steakhouse because you were a vegetarian.
Ethan: But …
Joel: And now, what I do I see on your recipes? Beef stew! Bacon omelets! Roast quail! You hypocritical slimeball! (hangs up)
Ethan: But … how did he know?
Beacon: Hi! I’m the Facebook Beacon! I keep track of your recipes so your friends know what yummy things are cooking at your house!
Ethan: Yah! I thought I got rid of you.
Beacon: No, that was the Blockbuster Facebook Beacon. I’m the Epicurious Facebook Beacon! Totally different. Much much better. Yummier.
Ethan: Can I tell you to go away, too?
Beacon: Sure. But if you strike me down, dozens of others will take my place. Ethan: Is there no way to tell all of you beacons to go away?
Beacon: Of course there is! Just say “no” when we ask you to use your phone. We always ask!
Ethan: Fat lot of good that did.

Facebook has since cleaned up its act on this one, but its history of Not Getting It on privacy matters makes me fear that the next Beacon Horror is just waiting to pounce.

Ha, this was great fun reading. For the same reason I told Facebook to deactivate my account… but did they?

Ha ha, that was hilarious.

Ha, this was great fun reading. For the same reason I told Facebook to deactivate my account… but did they?

I deactivated my account too just last week. That place is crazy.