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File photo Martin Keene/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Facebook and the controversial cookie

Has Facebook re-enabled a tracking cookie – and if so, what does it mean for Facebook users?

FACEBOOK HAS CORRECTED accusations that it has re-enabled a controversial ‘tracking’ cookie that can track users across the different sites they use.

Blogger Nik Cubrilovic posted a blog yesterday alleging that the cookie, which is called datr, had been removed but is now back being used by Facebook in different social widgets, including like buttons.

He said the cookie could be used to track the user across different web properties and then back to the Facebook website, even if the person was logged out of the site or had never been on

Facebook originally told Cubrilovic the cookie is used when a web browser accesses, and helps identify suspicious login activity.

Today, a Facebook engineer, Gregg Stefancik, who works on Facebook’s login systems, told Cubrilovic within the last hour that the company still has a policy of not building profiles based on data from logged out users.

Reports like this help us make sure we’re adhering to that policy which has not changed.  As we discussed last week, we are examining our cookie setting behavior to make sure we do not inadvertently receive  data that could be associated with a specific person not logged into Facebook.

He said that what is described is  not a re-enabling of anything, but a separate issue involving a limited number of sites, including CBSSports.  He said Facebook has moved quickly to investigate and resolve this latest issue which will be fully addressed today.

The like button was named in a complaint to the Data Protection Commissioner brought by the Austrian-based campaign group Europe v Facebook.

An audit will be carried out on Facebook’s Dublin base by the DPC in conjunction with an investigation into the complaints, which were passed to the DPC in August as was first revealed by

Read: Facebook to be audited by Data Protection Commissioner>

Read: Irish data chiefs set to test if like button is illegal>

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