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Facebook and Google know exactly what porn you watch – even if you use incognito mode

Because of course they do… 🤦‍♂️

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Image: Axios

Digital viruses aren’t the only things riddling free porn sites, web trackers from Google, Facebook, Oracle, and others are all waiting to spy on your voyeurism.

That’s according to a paper published by a team of researchers at Microsoft, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pennsylvania. Even incognito mode is no defense against the tracking, as the trackers still handing over your browsing habits – they just aren’t recorded on your PC.

Trackers from Google, Facebook and others are tracking your porn habits

The study showed that, just like most of the rest of the modern web, third-party tracking is “endemic on pornography websites.” A massive 93-percent of the thousands scanned were leaking user data to at least one third-party.

  • 22,484 porn websites were scanned for the study with a tool called webXray, which matches data requests to third-party sites
  • 74-percent of the sites scanned had trackers from Google or one of its subsidiaries, 24-percent had trackers from Oracle, and 10-percent had Facebook’s trackers on them
  • According to the researchers, the tracking is almost identical to that used for online retail
  • Only 17-percent of the sites had their data encrypted

Anyway, the privacy implications of this leakage are pretty mammoth.

While both Google and Facebook say they don’t allow their trackers to be used by sex and porn websites for business purposes, I’m still unsure how they police this. Anyone can add their trackers to any site, and get reports from the back end. It doesn’t really matter if Google isn’t allowing advertising profiles based on sexual interests or related activities, as the website tracking those can generate their own reports to use however they see fit.

What do you think? Surprised by the news or does this seem about par for the course at this point? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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