By Emily Tan
These ‘like’ buttons allow Facebook to track users’ browsing behaviour beyond its walled garden, even if users do not touch them.
“What most people don’t realise is that buttons used to share content on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and others are placed on almost every website that you visit,” Ben Williams, director of operations at Adblock Plus, said.
“Even if you don’t click them, these buttons send requests to the social network’s servers, which then uses the information to create a profile based on your browsing habits. This is one of the key ways that social media sites such as Facebook are able to access consumers’ private data.”
Adblock Plus promotes this feature as a way for consumers to have more control over their online data, without having to quit social media altogether.
“For consumers, this scandal highlights how easy it can be for their information to be gathered and misused without their consent. The social media giants’ policy of self-regulation is clearly not working as it should, and is making users’ data more vulnerable; it has therefore never been more important for consumers to demand their power back,” Williams added.