Social media giant Facebook has once more come under fire over the ways it handles user information. At the start of this year, Facebook silently launched a new feature that tracks users’ online activity even after they have logged out of the platform.
Messages have been surging on WhatsApp to alert Facebook account holders about this feature and instruct them on how to turn it off. To do so, users need to go to their settings and turn off ‘off-Facebook activity’.
Two weeks ago, Reuters reported that a court in San Francisco stated that “Facebook users could pursue several claims under federal and California privacy and wiretapping laws.”
“Facebook’s user profiles would allegedly reveal an individual’s likes, dislikes, interests, and habits over a significant amount of time, without affording users meaningful opportunity to control or prevent the unauthorized exploration of their private lives,” wrote Chief Judge Sidney Thomas.
Thomas added that the plaintiffs “plausibly alleged that Facebook set an expectation that logged-out user data would not be collected, but then collected it anyway,” as reported by Reuters.
Facebook is the parent company of the other major social media platforms Instagram and WhatsApp, from which it also gathers information about users’ activity.
This is yet just another controversy arising from the way Facebook handles and collects users’ data. The company has not a good track record regarding data protection and it has been criticised for years about its dubious data policy, and most notably after the ‘Cambridge Analytica’ scandal was made public.