Facebook has admitted that it has been watching the web pages its members visit – even when they have logged out. In its latest privacy blunder, the social networking site was forced to confirm that it has been constantly tracking its 750million users, even when they are using other sites. The social networking giant says the huge privacy breach was simply a mistake – that software automatically downloaded to users’ computers when they logged in to Facebook ‘inadvertently’ sent information to the company, whether or not they were logged in at the time.
Most would assume that Facebook stops monitoring them after they leave its site, but technology bloggers discovered this was not the case. In fact, data has been regularly sent back to the social network’s servers – data that could be worth billions when creating ‘targeted’ advertising based on the sites users visit. The website’s practices were exposed by Australian technology blogger Nik Cubrilovic and have provoked a furious response across the internet. Facebook claims to have ‘fixed’ the issue – and ‘thanked’ Mr Cubrilovic for pointing it out – while simultaneously claiming that it wasn’t really an issue in the first place. On technology blog CNET, however, users were outraged at what was going on.
According to U.S. reports Facebook has recently set up its own Political Action Committee, an American term for a lobbying outfit to get its views heard on Capitol Hill. So far this year it has already spent £352,000 on lobbying, already ahead of last year’s total of £224,000.