Facebook says it is co-operating with Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner and, in response to some of the allegations by Europe Versus Facebook, pointed out it does not use the ‘Like’ button to track people.
Yesterday, we reported that Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner was investigating 22 complaints highlighted by group Europe Versus Facebook.
“Facebook’s European headquarters in Ireland manages the company’s compliance with EU data protection law,” the company said in a statement. “We are in regular dialogue with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner and we look forward to demonstrating our commitment to the appropriate handling of user data as part of this routine audit.”
Facebook deletes data after 90 days
Facebook said the ‘Like’ button is not being used to ‘track’ people when they move across the internet.
The company pointed to its Help Centre, which says that while it records information for a period of time – up to 90 days after which it is deleted – it only does so to provide users with a more personalised experience and to improve products.
According to Facebook’s Help Centre: “If you’re logged into Facebook and visit a website with the Like button or another social plugin, your browser sends us information about your visit. It’s important to note that Facebook is not retrieving this information. Rather, since the Like button is a little piece of Facebook embedded on another website, the browser is sending information about the request to load Facebook content on that page.
“We record some of this information for a limited amount of time to help show you a personalised experience on that site and to improve our products. For example, when you go to a website with a Like button, we need to know who you are in order to show you what your Facebook friends have liked on that site. The data we receive includes your user ID, the website you’re visiting, the date and time, and other browser-related information.
“If you’re logged out or don’t have a Facebook account and visit a website with the Like button or another social plugin, your browser sends us a more limited set of information. For example, because you’re not logged into Facebook, we don’t receive your user ID. (Basically, it sends the same information that the Daily Mail website would get if I landed on their page).
“We do receive the web page you’re visiting, the date and time, and other browser-related information. We record this information for a limited amount of time to help us improve our products. For example, we sometimes find bugs in the systems we’ve built to gather aggregate data on how people are interacting with sites that use the Like button or other social plugins. It’s helpful to be able to reference this anonymised information when investigating these bugs so we can find their source and fix them quickly.
“Regardless of whether you are logged in or not, we do not use the information we receive when you visit a site with the ‘Like’ button or another social plugin to create a profile of your browsing behaviour on third-party sites or to show you ads, although we may use anonymous or aggregate data to improve ads generally.
“We delete or anonymise the information we receive within 90 days, and we don’t sell it to advertisers,” Facebook said.