Content Marketing Blog

Aussies ‘concerned’ about Facebook privacy settings

Social media networks are often criticised for their privacy features and this week has been no exception.

A number of news publications have drawn attention to criticisms that were originally posted by Ben Parr on Mashable, suggesting that the latest wave of changes made by Facebook did little to ensure user privacy.

Parr said: "Facebook … [is] just a few updates away now from euthanising the concept of privacy, already ailing on its network."

In Australia, the focus on privacy has lead to a debate on tracking cookies and whether or not Facebook plugins are being used to monitor sites after users have signed out of their accounts.

IT security commentator Nic Cubrilovic initiated the debate when he used his blog to raise concerns about the different privacy settings.

Cubrilovic said: "Logging out of Facebook only de-authorises your browser from the web application, a number of cookies (including your account number) are still sent along to all requests to"

His comments were later picked up by the metropolitan papers and mainstream television networks.

However, Greg Stefancik, an engineer at Facebook who is currently working on the sites login system, has defended the company's privacy policy.

In a reply to the initial concerns made regarding cookies, Stefancik said: "We do not receive personally identifiable cookie information via HTTP headers when … users browse the web."

So if Facebook cookies are not being used for tracking then the next leading questions concerns their actual function.

According to Stefancik the social network utilises cookies to create custom news and content – for example, monitoring your friends' likes – as well as maintaining and protecting user services.

He said that 'logged out cookies' by way of contrast were used to enable appropriate safety measures.

These included security protections such as login approvals and notifications, as well as additional features which prevented younger users from opening accounts with fake year of birth details.