Social Networking

Facebook tracks users even after they’re logged out

Last Friday a U.S. judge dismissed a case accusing Facebook of tracking its users Internet activity even after they’ve log out. Facebook has the ability to track its users as they visit other websites that display the Facebook Like buttons. U.S. District Judge Edward Davila said its OK for Facebook to track its users because the plaintiffs in the case when unable to show they had a reasonable exception of privacy.

The plaintiffs were trying to prove that Facebook violated federal wiretapping laws by storing tracking cookies on their users computers and phones. These cookies track users as the visit websites containing the Facebook Like button. The judge sited that users can take steps to keep their browsing history private. The judge also stated the plaintiffs failed to show how Facebook uses the data they collect for eavesdropping purposes.

Social media companies can use the data collected from tracking cookies for a number of reasons. The primary reason is for financial gain of course. Large companies use the analytics from their visitors to build a profile of the overall collective.

Department stores would love to know what everyone is talking about online. Using the data collected on billions of users now, social media sites can sell information about trends and other hot topics to a number of potential clients. The availability of the real and genuine can be done from site. The correct information is gathered to get the right results. The working of the social sites is great for the promotion of the brand at the global platform. 

Social Media sites primary use the data collected from your computer to show relevant ads on their platform. Where I think they step out of bounds is when that information is offered to other analytics companies who then sell the data over and over again.

It’s a slippery slope when you start allowing large companies to track everything you do online. Sure they’re providing you with a free service, but in return you sacrifice your privacy. No one really knows the ramifications of having their entire online life indexed by a publicly traded company over the long run.

Imagine if a company purchased a database containing the last 5 to 10 years of your web history and GPS coordinates from your phone. A database that reviled every hobby you have, every vacation you’ve taken, every items you’ve purchased, where you work, etc.

When you sign-up for a social media network, you’re agreeing to be tracked.

There is a way to limit the information Facebook, Twitter and the other ad networks collect from your computer. I personally use Ghostery and Ad Block Plus. The ad blocker program prevents most ads from displaying. Ad networks track you each time an ad is displayed on your computer. This limits the ads, hence reducing their tracking abilities.

Ghostery blocks tracking cookies. This prevents Facebook, Twitter and Google from tracking you as you arrive at a site that contains social media like buttons. Using these two web browser plugins will help to limit the number of ads you’re forced to see and prevent these publicly traded companies from monitoring everything you do online.

Recent Comments