Is Facebook pulling the wool over our eyes?
“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” This was a post I did on Google Plus fake-quoting Mark Zuckerberg a couple of weeks ago. At the time, referencing the new Facebook changes and making information more public and that whole shebang. Over the past few days though, it has come to light that Facebook has been tracking users even after they logout of Facebook.com by using your Internet cookies. Note that a couple of Facebook employees of course denied these claims at first.
So even if you log out of Facebook.com, Facebook takes your Internet browsing cookies and holds on to them as you browse the web. Any websites you go to with any sort of Facebook social plugin (Like button, Send Button, Activity Feed, FB Comments, etc), which should probably be almost every website known to man, Facebook is able to see those hidden cookies and those app plugins will send back your data to Facebook. So Zuckerberg at Facebook can see everywhere you go and pinpoint what type of Internet browser you are, what you see and basically what sort of ads Facebook can send your way.
As this happened and the media hounds were getting their claws into the story, Facebook issued a statement saying they have changed the way that Facebook handles your cookies so that you are no longer being ‘tracked’ after you log out, even by going to sites with Facebook plugins. The fix does solve this particular issue, but if Nik Cubrilovic never found these hidden cookies that Facebook is using to track users across the web, Facebook would have continued on without any shadow of a doubt.
To make matters even worse, founder of TechCrunch Michael Arrington uncovered a Facebook Patent Application dated September 22, 2011 that says “A method is described for tracking information about the activities of users of a social networking system while on another domain.”
Whoa. So this whole time Facebook was denying the fact that they are tracking users on the web with cookies. Then backtracks and says they are, fixes the problem but in reality they just filed a patent application to track users while on other domains [presumably while being logged out of Facebook.com].
There could be additional unethical things that Facebook does without our knowledge until it’s uncovered, no one may know until it happens. Is Facebook really just pulling the wool over our eyes? I think we all know the answer to this question.