Facebook has been accused of this nefarious activity many times before. Numerous lawsuits have been filed in states like Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and California, all claiming the social media giant violates the Federal Wiretap Act. In most cases, Facebook has denied allegations and fixed the issue. Most cases have also been thrown out without any money changing hands; it seems lawyers have difficulty linking tracking cookies with wire taps and plaintiffs have trouble proving any harm was actually done.
The difference this time, aside from the larger scope, is Facebook is also being accused of violating the California Internet Privacy Requirements Act and the California Unfair Competition Law. Lawyers may have a greater chance of making these stick.
Cases like this stem from an accusation by hacker Nik Cubrilovic, that even after he had logged out of Facebook, personal information was still being sent to Palo Alto every time he went to a site that had a Facebook plugin. Facebook fixed the issue and explained that log-out cookies are there for the users protection. Cubrilovic confirmed the changes and all was right with the world.
Then a month later it was discovered that the “datr” cookie, which can be used to track users, was being sent to third-party websites with the Facebook plugin. Facebook once again explained their way out of it and fixed the issue.
With the constant barrage of complaints and lawsuits being filed against Facebook, you would think they would not even want to touch third party cookies. Facebook should learn a valuable lesson from these suits and take heed to the concerns of its users, who want their online privacy protected.