View Full Version : Privacy concerns with the facebook toolbar

May 4, 2010, 10:39 AM
The new facebook toolbar is great, but it has some serious privacy problems. Even if I am not using it, it is tracking me.

Facebook tracking users via "like" function.

Facebook recently launched the "Like" function, which basically can be embedded into arbitrary web sites. Naively, it does two things:
Provide a "Like" button for sharing the web site
Show you how many other users like the web site
Sounds good, doesn't it?

But now reconsider: even when you don't use the "Like" function, facebook is in fact notified of which web sites you visit!.

Encouraging you to "share" content with friends is the hanger for this function. This is what makes web masters install it on their sites: they expect to get some extra traffic from your friends, so they just add it.

But whether you like it or not, it basically allows Facebook to track your complete web viewing habits. And it's the target web site that opts in, not the user! Combined with all the personal information Facebook already has on you, this is a major privacy concern. Combining this information might even be illegal in some countries (but probably not in the US where Facebook lives, privacy unfortunately has a low role here).
Source (http://blog.drinsama.de/erich/en/20100504-facebook-tracking-via-like.html)

Now call me paranoid, but I don't really like facebook or in that case any 3rd party site knowing what I'm doing on the web. Its like having a CCTV installed on your shoulder by someone you dont even know.
Would you please scrap facebook features from the toolbar, or give an option to turn them off?

May 4, 2010, 05:54 PM
It can't track anything unless you login and allow Meebo facebook application to your profile. Just having the bar doesn't track anything.

If you are worried about facebook like feature and don't want anyone to find out about your likes and dislikes; then just set your appropriate privacy setting in your profile account. Go to Account Settings -> Privacy Settings ->Friends, Tags and Connections
Then set to appropriate level, preferably "Friends only" for "Things I Like".

<table class="privacy_section" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr id="privacy_section_row_8787600733" class="privacy_section_row"><td>Things I Like
Music, Movies, Books, Television</td><td><input value="80" name="privacy_data[8787600733][value]" type="hidden"><input value="0" name="privacy_data[8787600733][friends]" type="hidden"><input value="0" name="privacy_data[8787600733]
[list_anon]" type="hidden"><input value="0" name="privacy_data[8787600733]
[list_x_anon]" type="hidden">
<input name="UISelectList_name_1273012779360" type="radio">Everyone
<input name="UISelectList_name_1273012779360" type="radio">Friends and Networks
<input name="UISelectList_name_1273012779360" type="radio">Friends of Friends
<input name="UISelectList_name_1273012779360" checked="checked" type="radio">Only Friends
<input name="UISelectList_name_1273012779360" type="radio">Customize

There is nothing to be paranoid about. Like anything else online, you should only participate in things that seems appropriate to you. If you are not comfortable with facebook privacy, then don't use the toolbar sharing. If you have already allowed the toolbar to log you into facebook, you can deactivate it by disallowing Meebo app from facebook account->privacy setting->Applications and Website.

BC is not tracking or forcing anyone to use Facebook. The toolbar at the bottom is just a helpful feature for the members who find sharing and communicating with their facebook friends important.