Here’s How Facebook Tracks You When You’re Not On Facebook

During his two-day marathon testimony in Washington in which week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg looked particularly uncomfortable answering basic questions about how Facebook tracks people when they’re not using Facebook. In case you hadn’t already heard, yes, in which’s true: Facebook can track your online activity even if you aren’t signed in to Facebook.

He squirmed under questioning coming from Sen. Roger Wicker: “There have been reports in which Facebook can track a user’s internet browsing activity even after in which user has logged off of the Facebook platform. Can you confirm whether or not in which is actually true?” Sen. Wicker asked.

“Senator, I want to make sure I get in which accurate so in which would likely probably be better to have my team follow up afterwards,” Zuckerberg responded, before being pressed along with giving an incomplete answer.

The not bad news is actually in which the answer to Sen. Wicker’s question isn’t only in a report — in which’s on Facebook’s website in its help section. Here’s how Facebook can learn about what you do online even when you’re not on its platform.

You know those Facebook “like” buttons you see around the internet? (There’s even one on in which article.) They’re tracking your browsing activity whether you’re a Facebook user or not. “If you’re logged into Facebook along with visit a website with the Like button, your browser sends us information about your visit,” Facebook’s website says. “If you’re logged out or don’t have a Facebook account along with visit a website with the Like button or another social plugin, your browser sends us a more limited set of info.”

Here’s what Facebook says in which tracks when you’re not logged in: “We receive info about the web page you’re visiting, the date along with time along with additional browser-related info. We record in which info to help us improve our products.”

The Facebook pixel is actually a piece of code advertisers put on their sites in which tracks your activity on those sites along with reports in which back to Facebook. Here’s how Facebook explains how in which works: “When someone visits your website along with takes an action (for example, buying something), the Facebook pixel is actually triggered along with reports in which action. in which way, you’ll know when a customer took an action after seeing your Facebook ad. You’ll also be able to reach in which customer again by using a custom audience.”

Businesses can upload their data to Facebook to see if the ads they run on Facebook lead to sales in their stores; they do in which via something Facebook calls offline conversions. Here’s how Facebook’s website describes them to advertisers: “Facebook’s offline conversion measurement solution helps you understand which offline events, such as purchases in your retail store or orders made over the phone, happened as a result of your Facebook ads.” Businesses upload their in-store sales data in spreadsheet format along with then Facebook matches in which data with the people in which saw its ads.

Alex Kantrowitz is actually a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News along with is actually based in San Francisco. He reports on social along with communications.

Contact Alex Kantrowitz at alex.kantrowitz@buzzfeed.com.

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