Tracking non-users; What is Facebook up to?



By NewsGram Staff Writer

The most popular social networking site, Facebook, admitted that it tracked users not active on FB.

However it claimed that the report commissioned by the Belgian data protection authority ‘gets it wrong multiple times’ on what exactly FaceBook does with the user data. According to the social media giant, tracking happened because of a bug that is now being fixed.

Richard Allan, Facebook’s vice president of policy for Europe wrote, “The researchers did find a bug that may have sent cookies to some people when they weren’t on Facebook. This was not our intention; a fix for this is already under way.”

Allan responded to a few claims of the report which were presented by researchers at the Centre of Interdisciplinary Law and ICT (ICRI) and the Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography department (Cosic) at the University of Leuven, and the media, information and telecommunication department (Smit) at Vrije Universiteit Brussels.

What is interesting is that Facebook claimed in a press release that “there’s no way to opt out of social ads” while the report states that “users can opt-out from so-called Social Ads”.

“Facebook does receive standard ‘web impressions’, or website visit information, when people visit sites with our plug-ins or other integrations. The authors misleadingly call this ‘tracking’,” “Unlike many companies, we explain how we will use this information and the controls we honor and offer,” said Allan.

Allan also wrote that Facebook is very much open about use of cookies for security, personalization and ads.

The Belgian Privacy Commission will be giving its verdict on the report on 29 April.

Meanwhile, things are getting hot for FaceBook. A team of data regulators from Belgium, France, Spain and Italy has been set up to look into Facebook’s privacy practices. Flemish, Dutch and European parliaments have also called for closer inspection of the company.