Patrick Stafford reports:
SEO and privacy experts have raised questions about a feature in Google’s Analytics Dashboard that allows website operators to find information on individuals who have linked to their site through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The Google Analytics tool, highlighted by SEO expert and SmartCompany blogger Chris Thomas in his blog today, allows websites to track who has linked back to their site. While most of these links come from blogs and websites, a significant number now come from Facebook profiles where users have shared a link with their friends.
As a result, not only can websites identify the Facebook and Twitter profile names who have visited their site, they can identify the specific pages those users have linked. Additionally, websites can then potentially visit these Facebook or Twitter profiles and gather further information, including potentially personal details.
Read more on SmartCompany. So far, they seem to be the only ones raising this as a privacy concern. Chris Thomas cites Google Analytics’ T&C: