Facebook is in the hot seat again regarding privacy concerns. Last week, we told you how Facebook may have taken the liberty of resetting your privacy options without your explicit consent. Today, a report has surfaced that accuses Facebook of obtaining data from users when they aren’t logged in to Facebook.
A hacker named of Nik Cubrilovic created a blog post that explains how Facebook uses browser cookies to learn what websites its users are visiting after they log out of Facebook. Granted, Facebook isn’t aware of every site its users are visiting, just the ones that have Facebook-specific features such as the “Like” button. That probably doesn’t make you feel much better considering how just about every site you visit has some kind of Facebook integration.
“Even if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit. The only solution is to delete every Facebook cookie in your browser, or to use a separate browser for Facebook interactions,” Cubrilovic wrote.
After this story was picked up by VentureBeat, a Facebook engineer named Arturo Bejar responded by saying Facebook uses the altered cookies for safety purposes.
The logged out cookies are used for safety and protection including: identifying spammers and phishers, detecting when somebody unauthorized is trying to access your account, helping you get back into your account if you get hacked, disabling registration for a under-age users who try to re-register with a different birthdate, powering account security features such as 2nd factor login approvals and notification, and identifying shared computers to discourage the use of ‘keep me logged in”, Bejar wrote.
Bejar also said Facebook doesn’t use the information it gathers to improve advertising sales.
Regardless of what Facebook uses logged out cookies for, we’re sure users will not be happy to learn Facebook is aware of any of their web activities when logged out of the site.