Facebook is yet again in the news again over privacy concerns. This time however, it doesn’t revolve around obvious and clearly visible issues, but around the suspicious way they work with cookies, which form part of the the hidden tracking mechanisms of the site.
The outcry comes about as a result of logging off. When a user logs out or off of a site, one would typically assume that all data in the web browser that related to the user is erased and no further tracking of that user takes place.
Facebook, however, it seems may have been caught out in actually continuing to track user activities and monitor actions.
The morality around this is up for debate, but one thing is for sure, the logged out user has made an explicit opt-out request the moment they clicked the log out button and would not expect or desire any further tracking to take place.
Facebook has issued a fix almost in capitulation. However, two days ago hacker-blogger Nik Cubrilovic said that the social network re-activated the tracking cookie.
But questions still need to be answered to understand the ramifications and extent of potential breach of privacy including:
- How long this has been taking place;
- Is Facebook is aware of the issue;
- Was this implemented intentionally;
- Exactly what information was being tracked, and
- How was the data being used.
I hope this is an isolated case and no other sites deviate from the norm, where log-out truly means logged out.
Guest writer Dale Carr is chief executive officer of ad monetization network Leadbolt.
AllFacebook edited an image from Shutterstock.