I wrote in January about the faculty Facebook may possess for tracking your browsing history. I made brief mention of the fact that logging out of Facebook may not prevent further tracking. It’s this last point that caused a stir this week as Nik Cubrilovic’s post got picked up by the press.
His follow-up post describes Facebook’s response, but the ‘tracking’ cookie to which I was referring has not been removed. According to Nik’s post, Facebook admit this will remain after logout to track the browser, but for ‘safety and spam purposes’.
According to this WSJ article, ‘not all of the data is logged’. That’s good.
The bottom line for me is that Facebook are so powerful that they need to be as answerable to their populous as a government. That means a certain level of transparency and being clear about their intentions. If they go back on their word, who holds them accountable? Are our laws even adequate? Should Facebook be audited, or should we just trust them?
I don’t expect I’d be too happy about having my servers audited, but I’m not Facebook. When nearly half a billion people log into your site each day to give you their data, you have a serious amount of responsibility on your shoulders.