It records the details of third-party sites directed by a Facebook plug-in, such as the ‘Like’ widget
Facebook has reportedly acknowledged that it can track what other websites its members visit, even if they are logged out of the social network site.
According to Arturo Bejar, Facebook’s engineering director, the social networking site with over 800 million active users does this by tracking cookie technologies similar to the controversial ones used by Google, Adobe, Microsoft, Yahoo and others in the online advertising industry.
Facebook is said to be using two types of cookies to collect data. It records the details of third-party sites directed by a Facebook plug-in, such as the ‘Like’ widget, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
The site claims the data collected is only used to improve its security and plug-in features and denies using the information collected to promote user-specific advertisements.
Bejar denied that the site uses this feature to track where its users go once they’ve signed off. "We’ve said that we don’t do it, and we couldn’t do it without some form of consent and disclosure," he told USA Today.
However, critics have expressed serious concern about the practice and have urged for tighter regulations to protect internet users’ privacy.
Thilo Weichert, a data protection commissioner in the Germany, said: "Whoever visits Facebook or uses a plug-in must expect that he or she will be tracked by the company for two years. Such profiling infringes German and European data protection law."