According to a new report, Facebook has been accused of using cookies to track the users secretly even if they have deleted their Facebook accounts and even if they have requested to no longer be followed. The company is, according to academic researchers, breaking the European law with its tracking activities and policies.
Facebook’s tracking activities
The tracking activities of Facebook are illegal since the users should be informed, according to the law, that they are receiving cookies excepting under specific circumstances. Facebook tracks the computers of its customers so that it can advertise according to the preferences of its customers. Such technology is being used by almost every website. However, European law requires that the users be told if they are being tracked. Companies, however, need not tell whether they need the cookies to help the user connect to the website or if access is needed to give the users the specific information that they have requested. However, the tracking policy of Facebook allows cookies to be received by the computer of the user even if they are not logged on to the website. This includes pages for events or brands, which the users can view, irrespective of whether they have an account with Facebook.
Facebook denies the accusations
Facebook has decided to dispute the accusations against it, according to The Independent. A spokesperson from Facebook told the newspaper that the authors of the accusations neither contacted Facebook before publishing these accusations nor did they seek to clarify the assumptions upon which the report was based. The inaccuracies in the report by the Belgian DPA were already clarified by the site, according to the spokesperson of Facebook. Facebook had even offered to meet with them to clarify why the statements made by the Belgian DPA were incorrect, but they declined. Facebook also further added that they are still open to discussing the matter with the Belgian DPA, if they agree to meet up with the representatives of the website. According to Facebook, the report does not have any legal standing and was written by independent academics. As far as the European data goes, Facebook is regulated by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, who makes sure that the site is acting within the European Union’s Data Protection Directive. Facebook is regularly audited as a part of that directive. On the other hand, the report by the Belgian DPA seems to have done adequate studies that go to show that the cookies were placed by Facebook even on sites that placed the “Like” button of Facebook on their website.
Facebook even has a page that goes to tell the users how the cookies are being used on the network. The website even goes so far as to make it clear that the cookies are being used for the purpose of advertising alone and that users can opt-out of such tracking, if they want to and that this will not actually violate their privacy in any way. Whether or not these claims that were made by Facebook are true, it could soon find itself in trouble with the European Union if it does not take the necessary action soon.