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Facebook Tracks Your Online Activity, Even After Logout

September 25, 2011

By Gilbert Falso :: 11:31 PM

Facebook Tracks You When Logged Out Update: Facebook has responded to our article.

Hacker Nik Cubrilovic has performed a series of tests analyzing the traffic and requests sent by browsers to Facebook, and has  discovered that the social networking site alters its tracking cookies when users log out, instead of deleting them. Since a user’s unique account information is still held in Facebook’s tracking cookie, they can continue to track their whereabouts as they surf the Internet.

If a user then visits a website with a Facebook plug-in installed, such as the “Like” button, or a comment box, their browser will continue to send personally identifiable information about this visit back to Facebook.

According to Cubrilovic, “With my browser logged out of Facebook, whenever I visit any page with a Facebook like button, or share button, or any other widget, the information, including my account ID, is still being sent to Facebook. The only solution to Facebook not knowing who you are is to delete all Facebook cookies. You can test this for yourself using any browser with developer tools installed. It is all hidden in plain sight.”

If confirmed by Facebook, this is a serious violation of privacy and user expectations. Many people are already alarmed that Facebook’s new timeline and newsfeed will report what they are reading or listening to in real time, adding the media that users consume to their profiles without them clicking a “like” button.

Filed under → Facebook, Privacy, Social Media