What about your Facebook following?

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Facebook made yet another round of updates commonly referred to as f8 across the web, and with the institution of a “Timeline” many people I know have been referring to it by yet another f word, that I won’t repeat so as not to offend.  For many the update has made it more difficult to do many of the things that we loved about using this ever popular social networking site.  Supposedly the changes are “improvements” to make it easier to sync your information and contacts and to share information across the web.   As much as many users disliked the updates and upgrades, they would hate the thought that Facebook may be tracking their movements on the Internet, even after they have logged out.

Josh Wolford shares an article in Webpro News about wondering “Is Facebook Tracking Everywhere You Go Online?” and one writer shares, “Logging out doesn’t seem to help.”

Information from Australian hacker and writer Nik Cubrilovic, shows what information about his Internet use went to Facebook while he was logged in and then he did another test tracking information that went to Facebook while he was logged out.

Here is what he found;

The primary cookies that identify me as a user are still there (act is my account number), even though I am looking at a logged out page. Logged out requests still send nine different cookies, including the most important cookies that identify you as a user.”

This is not what ‘logout’ is supposed to mean – Facebook are only altering the state of the cookies instead of removing all of them when a user logs out.

This means if you visit a page that has a Facebook share button whether you are logged on or off that information is being sent to Facebook. After all, those ads on the side can’t all be targeted to you simply because of your social 0r business networking.

Apparently this is not news to Facebook, according to the Facebook Privacy Policy

We receive data whenever you visit a game, application, or website that uses Facebook Platform or visit a site with a Facebook feature (such as a social plugin). This may include the date and time you visit the site; the web address, or URL, you’re on; technical information about the IP address, browser and the operating system you use; and, if you are logged in to Facebook, your User ID.

Don’t like it? What can you do about it?  Here are his recommendations,

The advice is to log out of Facebook. But logging out of Facebook only de-authorizes your browser from the web application, a number of cookies (including your account number) are still sent along to all requests to facebook.com. Even if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit. The only solution is to delete every Facebook cookie in your browser, or to use a separate browser for Facebook interactions.

Facebook has responded to some of the problems with “cookies’ and tracking and Cubrilovic has updated his blog to discuss this change.  They also share with ZDNet where they  “explicitly state that Facebook does not track users’ web activity. They also explain the purpose of logged out cookies.”

But it didn’t make that much of a change.  In a nutshell, you are leaving footprints in the sand, wherever you go when you use Facebook.

Read the entire article Is Facebook Tracking You Wherever You Go to find out more details on this topic.

For more about the tests conducted and technology discussed in this article visit Nik Cubrilovic’s blog.

So what do you think? Does all this create a more “friction-less sharing experience”  Mark Zuckerberg used in his f8 keynote talk or does it create a little friction between you and your Facebook use?

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