We see Facebook “Like” buttons everywhere. They’re a common token of popularity: if you “like” someone or something, you’re connected in some direct-through-Facebook digital way. In Facebook’s ‘Like This’ button is tracking you (Whether you click it or not), author Stewart Meagher reports that Dutch researcher Arnold Roosendaal “warns that Facebook is tracking and tracing everyone, whether they use the social networking site or not.”
“However, when a site is visited which includes Facebook Connect, this application issues a cookie. From that moment on, visits to other websites which display the ‘Like’ button result in a request for the Like button from the Facebook server including the cookie.”
Which means Facebook has swiped another batch of valuable data without asking for permission.
“Based on the cookie, the entire web behaviour of an individual user can be followed,” says Roosendaal. “Every site that includes some kind of Facebook content will initiate an interaction with the Facebook servers, disclosing information about the visited web site together with the cookie.”
Roosendaal’s paper is available at the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).
Our question is this: is there a way to change the system so that it is permissions-based?