Facebook admits to tracking logged out users

London: Facebook has admitted its cookies could have been used to track people after they had logged out of the social-networking service, adding that the company has now fixed the problem.

Australian technologist Nik Cubrilovic recently claimed that when the user is logged out of Facebook, rather than deleting its tracking cookies, the site merely modifies them, maintaining account information and other unique tokens that can be used to identify its users.

The social networking giant has described the huge privacy breach as a simple 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, the Daily Mail reports.

“We place cookies on the computer of the user,” said a Facebook spokesperson.

The company admitted that some Facebook cookies send back the address of users`` PCs and sites they had visited, even while logged out.

“Three of these cookies inadvertently included unique identifiers when the user had logged out of Facebook. We did not store these for logged out users. We could not have used this information,” the spokesperson added.

Facebook claims to have ‘fixed’ the issue, and ‘thanked’ Cubrilovic for pointing it out, while simultaneously claiming that it wasn``t really an issue in the first place.

Facebook has said the cookies no longer send information while you are logged out of its site. If you are logged in to Facebook, the cookies will still send the information, and they remain on your computer unless you manually delete them.

“We fixed the cookies so they won`t include unique information in the future when people log out,” the paper quoted a spokesperson for the company, as saying.

“It`s just the latest privacy issue to affect a company that has a long history of blunders relating to user``s private information,” the spokesperson added.


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