Facebook Like Button Knows What Websites You Are Visiting

Posted May 19, 2011

When you are logged into Twitter and Facebook and surf the web, you are essentially handing out data to the two social media companies about your browsing habits. For example, when you visit Pulse2.com and other news websites, the social widgets placed in the articles sends data to Facebook and Twitter that you are reading that specific website.

These widgets are spread on millions of websites. As a matter of fact, the Facebook button is on one-third of the 1,000 most visited websites. These widgets are intended to share content with friends and to help the websites attract more visitors. These widgets are often times associated with people’s names. Unfortunately, if you are logged in to the websites with a stored password, you don’t even have to click the widgets for Facebook and Twitter to detect who you are.

Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other widget companies said that they don’t use browsing data collected by the widgets for anything. Facebook only uses the data for advertising if a user clicks on the widget to share content. Facebook and Google say that they anonymize the browsing data so that information is not traced to a particular user. Facebook also clears the data within 90 days and Google deletes the data within 2 weeks. Twitter said that they delete the data quickly.