Facebook fixes cookies that watched logged out users

28 Sep 2011

One of the cookie codes that Facebook would have installed on computers. Facebook says the cookies no longer contain unique identifiers

Facebook is understood to have fixed the glitch that meant it could track users after they logged out of the site. In recent days, an Australian blogger revealed his year-long study of the practice.

Tech blogger Nik Cubrilovic uncovered Facebook’s practices of tracking users when they were not using the social network. Cookies – software that advertisers download onto your computer via web pages– relayed the information back to the social networking giant even though users weren’t logged into Facebook.

Facebook has admitted the situation existed but has claimed to have fixed the problem and says that while the cookies are still in place, they no longer track users’ activity once they’re logged out.

It said there was no security or privacy breach.

It is understood that three of the cookies inadvertently used unique identifiers when the user logged out.

Facebook said it did not store or use the information and that in future cookies will not contain unique information.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years