Originally published: September 29, 2011
Last updated: September 29, 2011 - 5:39pm
The Electronic Privacy Information Center is asking the Federal Trade Commission to look into Facebook's tracking of users after they log off the service.
The group is also asking the FTC to examine if Facebook's new Ticker and Timeline features pose privacy risks for users. Privacy rights advocates say they want the FTC to investigate if the new features constitute unfair or deceptive business practices. "Facebook's frictionless sharing and post-log-out tracking harms consumers throughout the United States by invading their privacy and allowing for disclosure and use of information in ways and for purposes other than those to which users have consent and relied upon," the letter reads.
The letter is signed by other consumer groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Digital Democracy and Consumer Action.
Facebook says the incident did not represent a security or privacy breach and that it did not store any of the information from the cookies in question. A spokesman also called attention to Facebook’s new “Bug Bounty” program that rewards people who point out security risks. The company is emphatic that it does not “track” users outside browsing habits: "Said more plainly, our cookies aren’t used for tracking. They just aren’t. Instead, we use our cookies to either provide custom content (e.g. your friend’s likes within a social plugin), help improve or maintain our service (e.g. measuring click-through rates to help optimize performance), or protect our users and our service."
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