Tracking Enablers: Did You Know About Widget Tracking?
Just this past week Twitter announced its recent changes to service and that they would honor the upcoming Do Not Track (DNT) standard. Around the same time, a colleague of mine also noted that after visiting his Facebook profile, he notice the company was capturing non-Facebook site visit data whether or not he clicked on a Like button.
Curious as to why this happens? Well Twitter was kind enough to send me an email and be upfront about their policies, so being one of the few people who actually reads them, I thought I’d take a deeper look. There is so much to cover, but I’ll just focus on one of the many ways we are being tracked – typically without our knowledge:
In short – if you visit a page with with a “Like Button” or “Tweet” option, then all those social networks can see where you go, whether or not you are currently logged into them. Most reasonable people expect to be tracked ON the social site, but not OFF of it. So as the EU privacy directive builds up enforcement steam, and as you re-evaluate your Web strategy (not just your privacy policies), please be aware that if you use a social Widget (available as a free plug-in for most content management systems) on your site or blog (as we considered doing), you are subjecting your visitors to tracking – and I bet, like me (and the EU Commission, I suspect) – you didn’t even know it. See the share button, in the upper right corner?
Digital privacy is one of the most complex and challenging business issues today. The more we all know, the faster we can find a better balance between privacy and commerce – and deliver a great user experience in the process.
By the way, our social media “buttons” are images with links to our SoMe pages and not widgets. We are not knowingly sharing your data with anyone else on this site, however, our social sites do use “widgets” to read this blog and share posting information between them.