How does Facebook track your web activity?

By: Richie Ly

If you haven't listened to the podcast yet, you will find out why Facebook tracks your web activity, how it impacts you, and what you can do about it. What you won't find out is how Facebook exactly does it, which is why this blog is here to inform you of that. Facebook has numerous number of trackers that give them access to your information and they simply do this by sending cookies onto whatever device your own.

Whether it's your smartphone, your tablet, or even your laptop, they have the ability to place these trackers. Cookies aren't the only type of trackers that Facebook has access to, they can also set up trackers in the form of "Javascript, 1-pixel beacons, and Iframes" in the same way. Either way, the complicated process begins with you visiting another website, from there cookies are sent directly from Facebook themselves and every time you open the website again, the cookies that are on the webpage notify Facebook of your activity.

It sounds like a complicated process but to give an example of this process, when you're visiting a website with a Facebook button on it, it "will send a request, and that request comes back from Facebook with a button which contains Javascript codes" in order for the tracking to be allowed. The code then allows websites to run the code on whatever device you're on. It's really a step-to-step process which begins with us, but the scary part in all of this is that these codes that are already on the webpages you've visited, and they can then "write cookies and even make more tracking requests."

References

Felix, Samantha. "This Is How Facebook Is Tracking Your Web Activity." Business Insider. 9 Sept. 2012. Web. http://www.businessinsider.com/this-is-how-facebook-is-tracking-your-internet-activity-2012-9 

Felix, Samantha. "This Is How Facebook Is Tracking Your Web Activity." Business Insider. 9 Sept. 2012. Web. http://www.businessinsider.com/this-is-how-facebook-is-tracking-your-internet-activity-2012-9#opening-up-business-insider-on-a-new-tab-2

Ly, Richie. 2015. [Photo of typing on laptop]