The business model for Facebook is simple: gather as much user data as possible. That’s why it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn the social media giant tracks what we do on the web even when we’re logged out. That was the grounds for a major privacy lawsuit against the company – and it was dismissed by a California judge earlier this week.
The plaintiffs in the case claimed Facebook violated California and federal privacy and wiretapping laws by storing user cookies on their browsers to track them across the web as they visited websites with Facebook “like” buttons. However, the judge disagreed, saying the plaintiffs failed to show they’d suffered any economic harm or loss. He also questioned whether the plaintiffs had done everything they could to keep their information private, while saying that the suit failed to show Facebook illegally intercepted communications.
“The fact that a user’s web browser automatically sends the same information to both parties does not establish that one party intercepted the user’s communication with the other,” he wrote.
This is a big legal victory for Facebook, and it also serves as a helpful reminder to do everything in your power to protect your own information. That’s still the first and best line of defense – especially when the courts don’t step in on behalf of user privacy.