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Facebook Might Be Tracking You After You Log-Out

May 11, 2012
Colson Hicks Eidson

Like most people, you probably have a Facebook account. In a report at, a class action lawsuit filed in California federal court in late 2011 states that Facebook admitted to tracking user’s online activity after the user logs off the site. As of February 2012, the U.S. Judicial panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) have sent 1o additional federal lawsuits filed against Facebook last year to a federal court in San Francisco.

All of the class action lawsuits allege that Facebook is in violation of the Federal Wire Tap Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and other laws. They also claim that Facebook’s actions are in violation of its own privacy policy, which says Facebook does not track post-log-out activity.

The lawsuits have been consolidated under the title: “Facebook Internet Tracking Litigation.” The Judicial Panel denied Facebook’s counsel request to entitle it “Facebook Cookie Litigation,” saying that “would imply an unduly restrictive scope on this litigation.”

Facebook has always said any tracking information on users is inactive once the user leaves the site. However, a user discovered it was to the contrary in 2010. The user notified Facebook of his discovery, but he says Facebook ignored him. The user went public with his discovery and Facebook admitted to the allegation the very next day, according to the class action complaint.

Most websites use “cookies” to store pieces of information such as usernames and passwords. Cookies can also track identifiers to individual users and track their online activity. Privacy advocates see it as a major threat to privacy.

Facebook is a daily ritual for most Americans. It is a popular marketing tool for businesses and a media mainstay. Knowing the allegations against Facebook, will it change your Facebooking habit?