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) --


, no stranger to criticism of its privacy policies, is now facing a new accusation: Collecting data about users across the Web even when they log out of the social networking site.

Rather than deleting tracking cookies -- files containing browsing history information -- Facebook keeps them active, Australian security consultant Nik Cubrilovic said in a blog post.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

"Even if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit," Cubrilovic wrote.

Facebook responded to the claims, saying it has "no interest in tracking people" and that its logged-out cookies are used for safety and security precautions, such as identifying spammers and phishers.

Cubrilovic said Facebook has since corrected this flaw, and now deletes cookies once users have logged out from the site.

This is not the first time the world's largest social network has been cited for privacy issues.

Most recently, an announcement at its f8 conference last week that third party applications like




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would share users' real-time actions on the Web

, sparked concern from some users that the site was too invasive.

Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy watchdog group, said it is preparing a letter to the Federal Trade Commission that Facebook is pressuring users to share more information with others than they typically would.


Written by Olivia Oran in New York


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