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Facebook was tracking you after you logout. Are they still?

Facebook knows a lot more than you think. The popular social networking site has the ability to track your browsing history and you could accidentally share pages that you did not intend others to see. And, according to Nik Cubrilovic, this was still happening even when you’re logged out.

After you’ve logged out of Facebook, a number of cookies are deleted but some are actually added to your browser and remain long after your Facebook session has ended. These cookies have the ability to identify you as a user. According to Cubrilovic:

With my browser logged out of Facebook, whenever I visit any page with a Facebook like button, or share button, or any other widget, the information, including my account ID, is still being sent to Facebook. The only solution to Facebook not knowing who you are is to delete all Facebook cookies.

This means that the only way to safely surf the web without transmitting information about your history to Facebook is to use a separate browser simply for Facebook or delete all cookies that Facebook adds or simply leaves on after you’ve logged out. Otherwise, you could be transmitting all types of information back to Facebook for your “friends” to see.

After this issue was brought to Facebook’s attention, they worked on solving it. Facebook eliminated some of the remaining cookies that persisted after logout but still kept some of the other ones maintaining that they are using it as a safety precaution and to identify suspicious activity. In his follow-up article, Cubrilovic had this to say about the Facebook changes:

Facebook has changed as much as they can change with the logout issue. They want to retain the ability to track browsers after logout for safety and spam purposes, and they want to be able to log page requests for performance reasons etc.  I would still recommend that users clear cookies or use a separate browser, though. I believe Facebook when they describe what these cookies are used for, but that is not a reason to be complacent on privacy issues and to take initiative in remaining safe.

So basically although Facebook claims they are not using this information now to track people, it is never harmful to stay cautious about what information is captured about you on the internet because this information could be used in greatly different ways in the future.

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