Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Facebook Tracks You Even If You Opt Out

with one comment

Nicole Kobie reports for Motherboard:

If you’ve visited a Facebook page—even if you don’t have an account, and even if you’ve opted out of tracking—the social network drops a long-lasting cookie onto your computer, and follows you everywhere you go.

That’s according to an in-depth ​report from a pair of Belgian universities, who were commissioned to investigate the issue by​ their local data protection agency. (Asked for a response, the UK’s own Information Commissioner Office directed us to Ireland’s data protection watchdogs, saying it wasn’t their remit as Facebook is based in Ireland.)

The report found that Facebook tracks users even if they’re logged out, have deactivated their account, or have opted out of behavioural advertising. The problem centres on Facebook’s social plugins, those widgets that people install on their sites with the Like button.

The researchers suggested that Facebook sets a tracking cookie that can last for two years on your PC or device in three​ instances. First, when you visit a Facebook page—whether it’s your own profile or a company page when you’re not signed in; second, if you visit specific third-party websites (including mtv.com and, rather oddly, myspace.com); and third, rather ironically, if you go to the European D​igital Advertising Alliance website to opt out of tracking.

From then on, every time you visit a page with a Like button or other social plugin, it sees the cookie and sends the tracking details back to Facebook. That happens even if you don’t click Like, login to Facebook, or interact in any other way with the site.

If all this sounds exactly what you’d expect from Facebook, you’re not alone. Paul Bernal, a lecturer at the University of East Anglia’s law school, wasn’t surprised by the report, though he said the extent of the tracking goes further than he would have thought. “Facebook has a record of pushing the boundaries, and for finding new ways to invade privacy, which is one reason that people like me, who understand at least part of how they work, are not generally on Facebook,” he told me. “So it’s not a surprise that they’re doing whatever they can to track us, but this looks a bit more brazen than I suspected. They’ve had their fingers burnt in this field before, and I thought they might be a bit more circumspect.”

Facebook said the report contained “factual inaccuracies” but did not detail them; the authors didn’t speak to the social network “to clarify any assumptions” before it was published. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 March 2015 at 12:33 pm

One Response

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  1. Reblogged this on HumansinShadow.wordpress.com.

    curi56

    31 March 2015 at 12:37 pm


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