It's official: Facebook's new Beacon advertising service is even more intrusive than users initially feared, and tracks users' activities wherever they are on the Web, even if they're not logged into Facebook and even if they've opted out of having their activities broadcast to their Facebook friends.
According to PCWorld, a Facebook spokesman has confirmed that users are tracked regardless of what they've requested. He says the data all comes back to the Faceboko servers and, if users are logged off or opted out it's deleted – but the fact that it's being logged at all is likely to get people worried about their privacy.
Beacon is the element of the newly-intorduced Facebook Ads platform, which tracks what Facebook members are doing on the initial 40 participating sites and reports on their activities to their Facebook friends.
These activities include purchases, signing on for a service or adding an item to a wish list.
Last week users started realising the implications when their friends started getting notified about their activities and, under pressure, Facebook made the opt-out option on the various Web sites more explicit.
However, there's no global opt-out option, nor is there any way to stop users' activities being monitored whether they're logged in or not – despite the fact that senior Facebook officials have specifically denied that such tracking happens.