For the first time, Facebook has revealed details about how it tracks users across the web.
Through interviews with Facebook engineering director Arturo Bejar, Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes, Facebook corporate spokesman Barry Schnitt and Facebook engineering manager Gregg Stefancik, USA Today‘s Byron Acohido was able to compile the most complete picture to date of how the social network keeps tabs on its 800 million users.
Here is what Acohido learnt:
Facebook does not track everybody the same way. It uses different methods for members who have signed in and are using their accounts, members who are logged-off and non-members.
The first time you arrive at any Facebook.com page, the company inserts cookies in your browser. If you sign up for an account, it inserts two types of cookies. If you don’t set up an account, it inserts only one of the two types.
These cookies record every time you visit another website that uses a Facebook Like button or other Facebook plugin – which work together with the cookies to note the time, date and website being visited. Unique characteristics that identify your computer are also recorded.
Facebook keeps logs that record your past 90 days of activity. It deletes entries older than 90 days.
If you are logged into a Facebook account, your name, email address, friends and all of the other data in your Facebook profile is also recorded.