Following Mark Zuckerberg’s rope-a-dope testimony on Capitol Hill last week, Facebook is (sort of) clarifying how it handles off-site user data.
The company tracks consumers’ activity across websites and apps other than its own for three reasons, says David Baser, product management director at Facebook.
Those reasons include “providing our services to these [third-party] sites or apps; improving safety and security on Facebook; and enhancing our own products and services,” Baser explains in a new blog post.
From there, Baser goes into greater detail about Facebook’s tracking policy, albeit in terms that will probably fly over most users’ heads.
Baser also acknowledges that Facebook tracks the data of consumers who don’t belong to its massive community. Mirroring Zuckerberg’s murky answers on the subject last week, Baser doesn’t explain what Facebook knows about non-users.
“When you visit a site or app that uses our services, we receive information, even if you’re logged out or don’t have a Facebook account,” he said.
Then, using some schoolyard logic, Baser pointed out that Facebook isn’t the only company collecting user data from across the Web.
“Many companies offer these types of services and, like Facebook, they also get information from the apps and sites that use them,” he said.
Tattling on its rivals, Baser said: “Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn all have similar Like and Share buttons to help people share things on their services. Google has a popular analytics service,” Baser added. “And Amazon, Google and Twitter all offer login features.
“These companies -- and many others -- also offer advertising services,” he added.
“In fact, most websites and apps send the same information to multiple companies each time you visit them.”
Does that make it right? Facebook seems to think so. Whether users and their elected representatives agree remains to be seen.