The social media empire Facebook has unveiled some new "features" on its
platform in recent days that many allege are a total and compete
privacy-breaching nightmare. But one hidden feature, discovered by Nik
Cubrilovic, an Australian entrepreneur and writer, that few people are aware of
is the fact that Facebook now monitors your online activity, even when you are
not logged in to the service.
With each new change Facebook makes, users'
privacy becomes a little less ... nonexistent, if you will. The most recent
"News Feed" modifications, for example, display everything you say and do on the
site to all of your "friends," and even to the public. And now, even after
logging out of Facebook, permanent "cookies" track all your movements on
websites that contain Facebook buttons or widgets.
if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit,"
Cubrilovic wrote on a recent blog posting. "The only solution is to delete every
Facebook cookie in your browser, or to use a separate browser for Facebook
But how many
Facebook users will actually know to do this? The site has never announced to
its users that it is even tracking them in the first place, let alone given them
any instructions on how to "opt-out" of this egregious invasion of
Facebook, of course, has become infamous for simply changing its
site setup, including privacy settings, and leaving it up to users to figure out
how to contain their breached information after the fact. It has switched from
an "opt-in" approach, where users used to be given the option to "upgrade" to
new features, to a much more complicated "opt-out" approach, where Facebook
makes drastic changes and leaves it up to users to somehow figure out how to
change things back to the way they were (if such an option is even still
"While initially opt-in, the default then seems to be expose
everything," says David Vaile, executive director of the University of New South
Wales (UNSW) Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre, concerning Facebook's
"breathtaking and audacious grab for whole life data."
again, are (sic) doing things that are beyond most users' capacity to understand
while reducing their privacy ... the default setting for any site should be
'reveal nothing about me unless I make a specific choice