Facebook denies privacy accusations, shows 'big brother paternalism'

Facebook denies the latest privacy accusations and acknowledges tracking information to protect users.
Written by Michael Krigsman, Contributor

Facebook responded today to allegations that the company tracks users who have logged out of facebook.com.


Read also: Facebook and OnStar face similar privacy accusations

A Facebook spokesperson offered the following comment:

Facebook does not track users across the web. Instead, we use cookies on social plugins to personalize content (e.g. Show you what your friends liked), to help maintain and improve what we do (e.g. Measure click-through rate), or for safety and security (e.g. Keeping underage kids from trying to signup with a different age). No information we receive when you see a social plugins is used to target ads, we delete or anonymize this information within 90 days, and we never sell your information.

Specific to logged out cookies, they are used for safety and protection, including identifying spammers and phishers, detecting when somebody unauthorized is trying to access your account, helping you get back into your account if you get hacked, disabling registration for a under-age users who try to re-register with a different birthdate, powering account security features such as 2nd factor login approvals and notification, and identifying shared computers to discourage the use of 'keep me logged in'.

Facebook's approach smacks of big brother paternalism because the company does track certain activities it claims are necessary to protect users.

Let me ask a rather obvious question: when a user logs out, why not simply delete all tracking behavior associated with that user's account? That's the intuitive and obvious answer most users expect.

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