Facebook is still in the middle of a storm for its conduct and the way it approached the privacy of its users after the Cambridge Analytica case.
Now Facebook is under scrutiny after Zuckerberg testified in front of the US Congress, the social network giant disclosed more information on data collection activity that aimed to gather info related to non-Facebook users.
Yes, it is true! Facebook can track you even if you are not using it, this is possible if you visit a website or an application that uses the services of the tech giant.
The services include Social plugins (i.e. Like and Share buttons), Facebook Login, Facebook Analytics, and ads and measurement tools.
“When you visit a site or app that uses our services, we receive information even if you’re logged out or don’t have a Facebook account. This is because other apps and sites don’t know who is using Facebook.” explained product management director David Baser.
“Many companies offer these types of services and, like Facebook, they also get information from the apps and sites that use them. Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn all have similar Like and Share buttons to help people share things on their services. Google has a popular analytics service. And Amazon, Google and Twitter all offer login features.”
As you can imagine, all these companies also offer targeted advertising services by leveraging the information gathered through their services.
Everytime a user visits a website, his browser shares the IP address to the website along with info about the machine (i.e. browser, operating system) and cookies. Facebook also collects data related to website or app accessed by the user.
According to Baser, the social network platform uses the information received from websites and apps, to implements its services, to target the advertising and to improve the safety and security on Facebook.
Data collected by the company also allows it to measure the success of its advertising campaigns.
Facebook also uses this information to prevent abuses and identify threat actors targeting its users.
“We also use the information we receive from websites and apps to help protect the security of Facebook. For example, receiving data about the sites a particular browser has visited can help us identify bad actors.” added Baser.
“If someone tries to log into your account using an IP address from a different country, we might ask some questions to verify it’s you. Or if a browser has visited hundreds of sites in the last five minutes, that’s a sign the device might be a bot.”
Websites and apps who use the services of the social network have to inform users that they are collecting and sharing said information with the social network. They need an explicit consent and are requested to explain the purpose data are collected.
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(Security Affairs – privacy, social network)