Facebook Inc (NASDAQ FB) wants permission to track their user’s web site behavior, even when they are no longer on Facebook but surfing other web sites. The social network now wants to peer into your social life outside its domain, but can it be trusted?
The Wall Street Journal notes that the lengthy privacy terms the social network requires users to agree to now says they can track a user’s movements even when they are no longer on Facebook. The goal is to generate more relevant and thus more profitable advertising.
Ideally Facebook wants to know what web sites their users are browsing so they can determine their product interest and even know when they are making purchases online. Facebook would then display ads that are relevant to recent product considerations and even try to lure someone away from making a purchase and place them with a Facebook advertiser instead.
Facebook Inc: Permission to Track
The system works by using “cookie” tracking technology and marrying it with what is known as “pixel code” that is installed on various web sites.
A cookie is a small text file loaded onto the computer that can record various actions a user takes online. The pixel code installed on other web sites, commonly used to drive “Like” and “Share” buttons that promote traffic to the Facebook site, also interfaces with the Facebook cookie to identify when and where the user has visited and make a rough determination towards product interest.
Online retailers could use pixel code to purchase Facebook ads targeted to people who were just about to buy something, the report noted, but then got distracted and later ended up browsing Facebook.
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Facebook Inc (NASDAQ FB) Business News
Facebook could then place ads that matched the user’s most immediate buying opportunity, making the ads more effective and enabling Facebook to charge additional rates for such highly specific, actionable advertising.
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