Security

Facebook User or Not, The Company Is Still Tracking You

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… for your convenience, naturally.

The Product Management Director of Facebook, David Baser, went online to answer some of the questions his CEO was unable to provide in the recent hearings. The post revolves around the data the company receives when people are not logged in or… don’t have a Facebook account.

Yep, it’s there, in black and white: “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.” 

Every time a Facebook user – who is not logged in – clicks the “Like” button on a website, he is under Facebook’s scrutiny. The platform receives his IP address, browser and OS fingerprint, with the accessed site, of course.

Non-users are tracked in a different way. Three years ago, Facebook claimed it had focused only on the interactions between users and non-users. Now, things are drastically different.

The Facebook Audience Network “enables other websites and apps to show ads from Facebook advertisers. Cookies and device identifiers help us determine whether the person uses Facebook. If they don’t, we can show an ad encouraging them to sign up for Facebook. If they do, we’ll show them ads from the same advertisers that are targeting them on Facebook.”

Either way, the social network knows critical information about you. Facebook says it’s not sharing that personal data with advertisers but they are giving them stats about the number of people accessing their ad: “An advertiser can choose to add the Facebook Pixel, some computer code, to their site. This allows us to give advertisers stats about how many people are responding to their ads — even if they saw the ad on a different device — without us sharing anyone’s personal information.”

Want to be free of ads? It’s not that simple. The company only points out a way to set you Ad preferences to prevent certain advertisers from reaching you or to block Facebook ads based on interests. In the second case, you’ll still see ads, but they won’t be based on your interests.

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