Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Facebook is watching you - even when you're NOT logged in
Facebook has admitted that it monitors every single web page its members visit – even when they have logged out.
In its latest privacy blunder, the social networking site was forced to confirm that it constantly tracks its 750million users, even when they are using other sites.
Most would[..]ume that Facebook stops monitoring them after they leave, but technology bloggers have discovered this is not the case.
In fact, data is regularly sent back to the social network’s servers – helping Facebook make billions of pounds each year from advertising, as such information is highly valuable.
The website’s practices were exposed by Australian technology blogger Nik Cubrilovic and have provoked a furious response across the internet.
Mr Cubrilovic found that when you sign up to Facebook it automatically puts files known as ‘cookies’ on your computer which monitor your browsing history.
Some cookies remain on your computer after you log out, and report back when you visit a site connected to Facebook. This covers millions of websites and refers to anything with a Facebook ‘like’ or ‘recommend’ button on it.
This covers millions of websites worldwide and refers to anything with a Facebook ‘like’ or ‘recommend’ button on it.
The data that is sent back is the IP address, or unique identifier of your computer, and a log of what you have been viewing.
Mr Cubrilovic wrote: ‘Even if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit.
‘The only solution is to delete every Facebook cookie in your browser, or to use a separate (web) browser for Facebook interactions.
‘This is not what ‘logout’ is supposed to mean’.
The admission is the latest in a series of privacy blunders from Facebook, which has a record of only correcting such matters when they are brought to light by other people.
Earlier this year it stopped gathering browser data from users who had never even been to Facebook.com after it was exposed by a Dutch researcher.
The site was forced into a partial climbdown over changes to privacy settings which many claimed made too much public.
It also came under attack for launching a ‘stalker button’ which allowed users to track another person’s every move in a list which was constantly being updated.