Flop: In early December 2009, Facebook, without admitting any wrongdoing, chose to shutter the Beacon program and give $9.5 million to an online privacy nonprofit, to settle the lawsuit. Beacon remains Facebook's most famous misstep.
We Own You...Or Not
Flip: On February 4, 2009, Facebook updated its terms of service to specify that the company retained ownership of a user's profile data indefinitely, even after the user canceled an account. The policy change amounted to removing two crucial lines from the Terms previously in force: "You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content."
After the Consumerist Website noticed the change and reported it, howls of protest commenced.
Flip: By 2007 it had become common for people to mourn the deaths of friends by posting memorials to the deceased person's Facebook page. But Facebook's policy had been to deactivate the profile pages of deceased members 30 days after they died. Facebook cited privacy concerns for not allowing the pages to remain as memorials.
Flop: After numerous complaints, Facebook changed its policy. Its new privacy verbiage on the issue reads: "If we are notified that a user is deceased, we may memorialize the user's account. In such cases, we restrict profile access to confirmed friends, and allow friends and family to write on the user's Wall in remembrance. We may close an account if we receive a formal request from the user's next of kin or other proper legal request to do so."
The Site Was My Idea, but Here's $65 Million