Facebook is launching an aggressive technique to track people across the Web
For years people have noticed a funny thing about Facebook's ubiquitous Like button. It has been sending data to Facebook tracking the sites you visit. Each time details of the tracking were revealed, Facebook promised that it wasn't using the data for any commercial purposes.
No longer. Last week, Facebook announced it will start using its Like button and similar tools to track people across the Internet for advertising purposes.
Here is the long history of the revelations and Facebook's denials:
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg introduces the "transformative" Like button…
April 21, 2010 – Facebook introduces the "Like" button in 2010 at its F8 developer conference. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg declares that it will be "the most transformative thing we've ever done for the Web."
He says his goal is to encourage a Web where all products and services use people's real identity. He suggests, in fact, that creating a personally identifiable web experience could be divine: "When you go to heaven, all of your friends are all there and everything is just the way you want it to be," he says. "Together, lets build a world that is that good."
Which sends data…
Nov. 30, 2010 – Dutch researcher Arnold Roosendaalpublishes a paper showing that Facebook Like buttons transmit data about users even when the user doesn't click on the button. Facebook later says that Roosendaal found a "bug."
even when users don't click on it…
May 18, 2011 - The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook Like buttons and other widgets collect data about users even when they don't click them. Facebook's chief technology officer says, "we don't use them for tracking and they're not intended for tracking."
Internet pioneer says log of out Facebook…
Sept. 24, 2011 – Veteran tech blogger Dave Winer writes that " Facebook is scaring me" with its apps like the social reader, which can automatically share stories you read. This "kind of behavior deserves a bad name, like phishing, or spam, or cyber-stalking," he writes. Winer recommends that users log out of Facebook to prevent being tracked on other websites.
Except logging out doesn't work…
Sept. 25, 2011 – Australian blogger Nik Cubrilovic writes that " Logging Out of Facebook is Not Enough." He shows that Facebook is tracking users even when they log out of the site. Facebook responds that it is fixing the issue so people won't be tracked when they are logged out of Facebook.
Facebook says not to worry...
Sept. 27, 2011 – Facebook tells the New York Times that it doesn't use data from Like buttons and other widgets to track users or target advertising to them, and that it deletes or anonymizes the data within 90 days.
Turns out Facebook has patented the technique…
Oct. 1, 2011 – Blogger Michael Arrington digs up a Facebook patent application for "a method … for tracking information about the activities of users of a social networking system while on another domain." The title of his blog post: " Brutal Dishonesty."
But, really, don't worry…
Dec. 7, 2012 – As the Wall Street Journal finds that Facebook Like buttons and other widgets appear on two-thirds of 900 websites surveyed, the company says again it only uses data from unclicked Like buttons for security purposes and to fix bugs in its software.
June 12, 2014 – Facebook tells Ad Age that it will start tracking users across the Internet using its widgets such as the Like button.
It's a bold move. Twitter and Pinterest, which track people with their Tweet and PinIt buttons, offer users the ability to opt out. And Google has pledged it will not combine data from its ad-tracking network DoubleClick with personally identifiable data without user's opt-in consent. Facebook does not offer an opt-out in its privacy settings.
Instead Facebook asks members to visit an ad industry page, where they can opt out from targeted advertising from Facebook and other companies. The company also says it will let people view and adjust the types of ads they see.
We contacted Facebook to ask them about their tracking habits. They didn't respond.
Read our recent story about how online tracking is getting creepier, and a piece from our archives rounding up the best reporting on Facebook and your privacy.
Given the high-level of risks associated with this new way of fund-raising, SEBI also proposed that only 'accredited investors' be allowed to participate in crowdfunding activities
Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has proposed new norms for 'crowdfunding' or collection funds through web-based platforms and social networking sites. This move is aimed to help start-up companies raise capital and also check misuse of such avenues.
Under the proposed norms, crowdfunding platforms can be provided by only SEBI-registered entities, while companies can raise up to Rs10 crore in a year through this route.
Given the high-level of risks associated with this new way of fund-raising activity, SEBI has also proposed that only 'accredited investors' be allowed to participate in crowdfunding activities.
Such investors would include institutional investors, companies, high network individuals (HNIs) and financially-secure retail investors advised by investment advisors or portfolio managers. Besides, the crowdfunding investment of retail investors would be capped at Rs60,000 or 10% of their networth.
Also, only those entities would be allowed to raise funds through crowdfunding which are not associated with a business group having turnover of more than Rs 25 crore. Entities with an established business, already listed on an exchange or being in existence for four years or more would be barred too.
Those engaged in real estate and financial sector businesses would also be barred from using this route.
Crowdfunding is emerging as an innovative way of raising funds by pooling money from people through Internet, but lack of regulations for such activities has given rise to concerns of possible defrauding of investors.
Among others, social and professional networking websites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have been used for such fund-raising exercises, while money-pooling also takes place on some dedicated websites for such activities.
Taking cue from financial market regulators in the US and the UK, the SEBI floated a 66-page 'consultation paper on crowdfunding in India', wherein it has proposed a new set of guidelines to regulate such activities.
The final norms would be issued after taking into account comments from public and other stakeholders till 16th July.
Under the proposed norms, the issuer entities and their promoters and directors would need to meet 'fit and proper' criteria of SEBI, while they cannot use multiple platforms to raise such funds within a year.
Also, issuers cannot directly or indirectly advertise their offering to public in general or solicit investments from the public, while they would need to compulsorily route all crowdfunding issues through a SEBI recognized platform.
Issuers will also be barred from directly or indirectly incentivise or compensating any person to promote its offering.
Despite Tuesday’s strong gains, a follow through rally may be tough
The Indian market on Tuesday covered most of the past two day’s losses in the last hour of the trading session. The indices witnessed a range bound session up to 2.20pm after which it shot up.
The market opened flat and trended sideways for a long time. The S&P BSE Sensex hit a low of 25,105 while NSE Nifty hit a low of 7,509. Following the late spurt, the benchmarks hit a high at 25,546 and 7,638. Sensex closed at 25,521 (up 331 points or 1.31%), while Nifty closed at 7,632 (up 98 points or 1.30%). The NSE recorded a volume of 107.34 crore shares. India VIX fell 1.60% to close at 17.6950.
Except for FMCG (0.29%) all the other indices closed in the green. The top five gainers were PSU Bank (3.05%), CPSE (2.61%), Energy (2.51%), PSE (2.48%) and Bank Nifty (2.28%).
Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 39 ended in the green. The top five gainers were ONGC (4.43%), Axis Bank (3.99%), Asian Paints (3.94%), PNB (3.77%) and IndusInd Bank (3.61%). The top five losers were M&M (1.34%), United Spirits (0.89%), Hero MotoCorp (0.82%), Hindustan Unilever (0.75%) and Dr Reddy (0.52%).
Of the 1,576 companies on the NSE, 1,156 companies closed in the green, 376 companies closed in the red while 44 companies closed flat.
In response to the wholesale price index (WPI) inflation jumping to a five-month high, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was quoted by the media as saying that the rising inflation was due to the hoarding of food stocks. He said that the Centre is committed to ease supply side bottlenecks and has also asked states to take firm measures against hoarders to check speculation.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan Tuesday said on the sidelines of an industry event that since India has sufficient foreign reserves and the current account is also low, one shouldn't worry too much about the external side at this point.
ONGC (4.07%) was the top gainer in the Sensex 30 pack. It may raise its stake in Cairn India's Rajasthan oil fields as a condition for agreeing to allow the company to operate the block after expiry of contractual period. ONGC, which currently holds 30% stake in the block, has told the Oil Ministry that the production sharing contract can be extended beyond 2020 if all parties to the contract agree on mutually agreeable terms. Hero MotoCorp (0.83%) was among the top two losers among the Sensex 30 stocks. Hero MotoCorp is looking to start selling bikes in the US next year, hoping to create a niche market for its products.
Syndicate Bank (4.87%) was among the top six gainers in the ‘A’ group on the BSE while Godrej Consumer Products (2.14%) among the top three losers in the ‘A’ group on the BSE.
US indices closed flat with a positive bias. Data released on Monday showed industrial production climbed in May. Output at factories, mines and utilities rose 0.6% after a revised 0.3% drop in April, a report from the Federal Reserve showed. Home builders' confidence rose in June to the highest level in five months, but respondents were still a bit pessimistic, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing-market index released Monday.
A two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee on US monetary policy begins today.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its growth forecast for the US economy this year and said the Fed may have scope to keep interest rates at zero for longer than investors expect. The institution now sees the the economy growing 2% in 2014, down from an April estimate of 2.8%. The IMF left a 2015 prediction unchanged at 3%, and said it doesn't expect the US to see full employment until the end of 2017, amid low inflation.
Except for Shanghai Composite (0.92%), Hang Seng (0.42%) and Straits Times (0.48%) all the other Asian indices closed in the green. Jakarta Composite (0.49%) was the top gainer.
China attracted $8.6 billion of foreign direct investment in May, down 6.7% from a year earlier, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement Tuesday. The figure was down from April's $8.7 billion, which was 3.4% higher from a year earlier. FDI in the January-May period rose 2.8% on year to $48.91 billion.
European indices were trading marginally higher. US Futures were trading in the green.
British consumer prices rose 1.5% in May from the same month last year, down from a rate of 1.8% in April, the U.K. Office for National Statistics reported Tuesday.