In a recent statement released by a German “data protection” official, Facebook’s “like” button is to be removed, from German users’ accounts. The statement claims that the “like” button violates privacy laws in the country. Known for seemingly ridiculous laws regarding Internet privacy, this newest revelation takes the cake for outlandish public policy.
Thilo Weichert, claims that Facebook illegally profiles users’ web habits by tracking the expression of appreciation through the utilization of the “like” button. Really? Anyone who looks at a post can see who “expresses their appreciation” of the post. Does the big bad machine that is Facebook really need to utilize that button to secretly track what people might like?
Weichert states “Facebook can trace every click on a website, how long I’m on it, what I’m interested in,” he goes on to say that all of the information the site collects is then sent over to Facebook, even if the person on the site is not a Facebook member.
Apparently, Weichert is not aware of how prevalent basic website tracking is these days. I can see these things on this very blog, and I am far from the multi-billion dollar genius that is Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook, as expected, is calling these claims absurd. They state that their “like” button has been implemented in accordance with European data protection regulations. And more importantly, as with any other site, users choose to view content on Facebook, and many like being able to utilize the “like” button. The logic for wanting to take away an optional luxury from people who enjoy having it is a bit baffling…