Facebook Tracking Cookies Prompt Congressional Scrutiny

If there’s an albatross around Facebook’s neck, it’s the constant issue of privacy, the law, and Facebook use.

Given the nature of a site like Facebook, it’s probably only natural that there will be some complaints about privacy. But it’s undeniable Facebook has dug their own grave in this regard in many ways (and continually) updating the way it works and its terms of service so that users are frequently exposed in new and innovative ways- prompting legal action and government interference.

Facebook has caught the watchful eye of Uncle Sam yet again, this time over cookies. Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee chair Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has expressed concern over Facebook tracking cookies after users leave the site, and said in a statement:

“No company should track customers without their knowledge or consent, especially a company with 800 million users and a trove of unique personal data on its users. If Facebook or any other company is falsely leading people to believe that they can log out of the site and not be tracked, that is alarming.”

Facebook minimized Sen. Rockefeller’s concerns, with spokesman Andrew Noyes replying in an emailed statement:

“When someone logs off of Facebook, we delete certain cookies and reduce the amount of information we receive when the person visits websites that contain social plug-ins such as the Like button… We have made these practices clear in our Privacy Policy and Help Center since the launch of social plug-ins. We appreciate Sen. Rockefeller’s interest in protecting consumer privacy and look forward to discussing this with him.”

Noyes added that the information gathered by Facebook tracking cookies is either trashed or anonymized after 90 days, and that the social network never sells it. Feel safer now? Have you been burned by Facebook’s lax privacy practices?