Facebook is 'illegally' tracking people’s internet searches across the web, even if they do not have an account with the social network.
The technology company is using so-called internet ‘cookies’ – little pieces of tracking data - to collect information about people’s activity online, each time they visit a website which features a Facebook button.
Academics in Belgium claim that Mark Zuckerberg's social network is breaching EU privacy laws by placing the tracking cookies on computers without the user's consent to log their browsing data.
Privacy: Academics in Belgium claim that Facebook, founded by Mark Zuckerberg (pictured last week) and with 1.3bn users, is placing tracking cookies on computers without the user's consent
Facebook buttons are on more than 13 million ordinary websites, including those run by the government and the National Health Service, and allow users to do things such as ‘like’ a website, or ‘share’ the link on their own Facebook page.
A new report from the University of Leuven and a Brussels university claims that Facebook is tracking internet users in Europe for two years even if they have expressly opted out.
Facebook has more than 1.3 billion users but there are millions more visits from people who are not signed up.
The researchers say Facebook is putting tracking cookies on internet users' laptops, PCs and phones when the visit facebook.com - so they can target them with online advertising.