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Tracks non-users

31 Mar, 2015

A report by the Belgian Privacy Commission says that Facebook is tracking non-users by placing cookies — a common way to track people’s browsing habits on the Web — on “some” people’s browsers, even if they had never visited The researchers hold that Facebook is collecting data from users who have logged out of their accounts or opted out of tracking altogether, monitoring them through the social buttons (social plug-ins) used to share third-party content, and placing cookies on users and non-users who visit websites that are owned by the domain.

It is important to note that tracking of non-users initiates even if one does not visit the Facebook homepage. In principle, any page belonging to the domain will result in the placement of a long-term, identifying cookie (e.g., an event page, a shop page, fan page …)

Facebook responds:

Virtually all websites, including Facebook, legally use cookies to offer their services. Cookies have been an industry standard for more than 15 years. If people want to opt out of seeing advertising based on the websites they visit and apps they use, they opt out through the EDAA, whose principles and opt out we and more than 100 other companies comply with. Facebook takes this commitment one step further: when you use the EDAA opt out, we opt you out on all devices you use and you won’t see ads based on the websites and apps you use…We’re disappointed that the authors of this opinion and the Belgian DPA, who we understand commissioned it, have declined to meet with us or clarify the inaccurate information about this and other topics. We remain willing to engage with them and hope they will be prepared to correct their work in due course.