Facebook to alert users of ad tracking

{mosads}Ad networks often install tracking files, called “cookies,” on users’ computers to monitor which websites they visit. That information is used to display ads tailored to the user’s interests.

In addition to showing the AdChoices icon, Facebook agreed to offer a link that users can click to learn more about the site’s tracking practices.

The company said the program will be in place by the end of next month. 

Facebook made the announcement in partnership with the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which enforces the program.

“At Facebook, we work hard to build transparency and control into each of our products, including our advertising offerings,” Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, said in a statement.

Privacy advocates argue users should be able to prevent companies from snooping on their Internet activity. Advertisers argue online ads are essential to support free Web services and that tracking makes the ads more useful and valuable. 

Some lawmakers, including Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), argue that self-regulatory programs are not enough to protect people’s online privacy. They argue that Congress should enact online privacy protection legislation.

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