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Friday, May 21, 2010

Breakdown of how the Facebook advertiser privacy breach works

Lets say your spending thousands of dollars on advertising by doing a PPC campaign and people are clicking those links... and when they hit your server your browser passes the page your asking for (URI) and the HTTP REFERRER which is sent by your browser about where you came from (you cant even trust these they are trivial to spoof) heres the image from the wsj you see how it identifies you? its because they dont scrub referrer and it has a ref=profile that means it only tells them when your on your own profile page and click on an add. They probably never thought of it... its in the HTTP protocol that all browsers and websites use and is mostly an afterthought used as a lax security measure. If they did they were like well some may abuse it but for the majority its helpful... why? because they dont care about you as a person they are running aggregate stats to help improve user experience and help provide you with better product. like seriously is there any proof that someone has had their name found and gotten a sales call from it? im all for privacy and control of my online life but this isn't a huge risk... close the hole and move on. i just hope all the referrer data from Facebook doesn't end completely and im not able to track visits to my blog from my Facebook fan page... (isn't that what it was for track community and drive traffic)

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