Facebook Tracks Websites Members, Non-Members Visit

12:37 AM, Nov 19, 2011   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- There are about 800 million people who use Facebook. If you're one of them, you may be interested in knowing the social media giant is tracking other websites you visit.

Facebook officials have admitted the company keeps track of where members and even non-members go on the internet.

Ron Culler with Secure Designs, Inc. in Greensboro said he's not surprised by this tracking.

"It's just how the internet works. It's how advertising is done, it's how targeting advertising is done for the big ad sites like Yahoo and Google," he said.

"Facebook wants to know who's going to their sites, who's using their 'like' buttons and link buttons and things like that," he added.

The way Facebook tracks data is if you sign up for a new Facebook account, Facebook puts two kinds of tracking cookies in your browser. If you go to Facebook but don't sign up, you still get one of those cookies.

Whether you're logged in, logged out, or not a member, here's what's tracked: things including your IP address and browser, time, date and web address of each site you visit that has a Facebook "like" button or other Facebook plug-in.

Facebook keeps a running log of your webpage visits for 90 days.

When you're logged into Facebook, it additionally tracks your name, email, friends, and other profiled data.

Facebook's engineering director, Arturo Bejar, told USA Today Facebook uses the data to boost security and improve how "like" buttons and other Facebook plug-ins perform. He said Facebook could learn where specific members go on the internet when they are logged off, but don't.

"Everybody has some privacy rights but honestly if you're doing something on the internet, I just go with the assumption that there is no privacy," said Culler. "If you have no expectation of privacy, then it's a lot easier to deal with."

WFMY/USA TODAY

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