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Beacon formed part of Facebook’s advertisement system that sent data from external websites to Facebook, for the purpose of allowing targeted advertisements and allowing users to share their activities with their friends. Beacon would report to Facebook on its members’ activities on third-party sites that also participate with Beacon. These activities would be published to users’ News Feed. This would occur even when users were not connected to Facebook and would happen without the knowledge of the Facebook user. One of the main concerns was that Beacon did not give the user the option to block the information from being sent to Facebook. Beacon was launched on November 6, 2007 with 44 partner websites. The controversial service, which became the target of a class-action lawsuit, was shut down in September 2009. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, characterized Beacon on the Facebook Blog in November 2011 as a “mistake”. Although Beacon was unsuccessful, it did pave the way for Facebook Connect, which has become widely popular.

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