Oct 052011
 
 October 5, 2011  Business, Online

Kelly Fiveash reports:

Facebook has rebuffed claims that a patent it was recently granted describes the ability to track logged-out users.

A company spokeswoman told The Register that the “Communicating Information in a Social Network System about Activities from Another Domain” patent, which was granted by the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) on 22 September, was about “creating a social experience”.

She said it wasn’t intended to track users as claimed by various bloggers over the weekend, adding: “That is my understanding, anyway.”

Sounds like she’s covering her tuchus in that disclaimer.

In any event, it’s understandable that many might consider this tracking of logged-out users:

“Some people have suggested that this application is intended to patent tracking of logged out users. Nothing could be further from the truth,” retorted the company.

“Instead, a careful reading of the application shows that the patent is actually describing a fundamental part of Facebook Platform – creating social experiences across the web without logging into Facebook repeatedly or third-party sites at all.”

So if Facebook is collecting or sharing data for a “social experience” without the user logging into third-party sites, how is that not tracking? I’m no expert on this, but each of these revelations and Facebook privacy flaps that occur with predictable frequency just reinforce a decision I made long ago to never sign up for Facebook. Now I grant you that I am not as social as many people, but I assure you lack of a Facebook account has not prevented me from doing anything that is important to me in life. Indeed, I’ve probably saved countless hours that others have spent trying to verify or change their privacy settings.

Read more on The Register.

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