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Facebook controversy may lead to FTC probe – not so fricitonless after all

Facebook tracking all users even after logged out

It was recently exposed by Dave Winer at Scripting.com that Facebook keeps tabs on where you are browsing without your consent and shortly thereafter, entrepreneur Nik Cubrilov discovered that by using cookies, Facebook was keeping track of its users even after the logged out, causing outrage at violated privacy of users.

Cubrilovic spoke with Facebook engineers who agreed to change how they store cookies, but they are still retained and not deleted after users log out, and they do not expire. Cubrilovic reports that Facebook removes your account information at log out but they still retain “non-personal data about your browser,” which has led to browser extensions like Facebook Disconnect to block Facebook from tracking their browsing history.

Representatives request that the FTC probe Facebook

Regardless of what engineers told Cubrilovic, Politico.com is reporting that Representatives Joe Barton (R-TX) and Ed Markey (D-MA) are requesting that the FTC investigate Facebook regarding their collecting of data even when users have logged out. This is not the first time Barton and Markey have fought against Facebook’s privacy practices.

“As co-chairs of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, we believe that tracking user behavior without their consent or knowledge raises serious privacy concerns,” Barton and Marky wrote. “When users log out of Facebook, they are under the expectation that Facebook is no longer monitoring their activities. We believe this impression should be the reality. Facebook users should not be tracked without their permission.”

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Facebook Founder, Mark Zuckerberg has begun using the new buzz word “frictionless” to describe the new Facebook user experience, but if the FTC launches a probe in response to this controversy, Zuckerberg’s experience might not be so “frictionless” after all.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Roland Estrada

    September 30, 2011 at 1:11 am

    This is why tech journalists are and have been critical of Facebook for their sometime blatant abuse of the people that use their site. I think Realtors should read more tech blogs and listen to podcasts that are created by journalists that cover tech day to day with a critical eye. As agents we tend too quickly fawn over the latest shiny object. Step back, take a breath, and look before you leap.

  2. Randy Pereira

    September 30, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Well, guess it is a good thing FB PAC will soon be here to the rescue.

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