Facebook cookies/merchant notification?

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    Brian Dellinger

    I’m going to mention something that happened to me last night, because I’ve never had this happen before. However, it’s too unusual to be a coincidence. For those of you who may use any of the media described, I’m sharing it as a further reason you may want to reconsider using. For those who already don’t use the media, good for you.

    I lurk on Facebook, though rarely contribute. I still enjoy seeing what friends, family and classmates are up to, though I don’t tend to add too many details to my own Facebook page. In addition, I don’t log out. Finally, I often search the web with multiple pages up at the same time. In fact right now my screen has seven pages up. Finally, I was logged into VRBO.com (with my email, not my FB account), because I was casually looking for a vacation rental for the summer for a week overseas. I mention all of these factors to the extent someone can figure out what may have happened last night.

    In any event, last night I was playing around with VRBO.com, looking at vacation rentals in a certain part of Nicaragua. I noticed that a few of the rentals were all from the same development. The development was not one I’d ever heard of before, but it sounded interesting. I went to the development’s website. I can’t say now whether I clicked the link on the rental page I was viewing, or opened a new page and googled the the site and found it.

    I looked around for a few minutes, clicked out, and went on my way.

    When I woke up this morning, I noticed that I had a new “friend request” on Facebook. It was not someone I recognized or who had any mutual friends in common. Thinking it was likely spam, I clicked to learn any details, and it appears to be a real person, who claims he’s a partner at the development I was looking at last night. I’ve never had that happen before, and I think that’s a good example of how FB is sharing your information and viewing habits. I’m not sure if it was cookies from FB that alerted the website owner, or what, but I’ve never had someone directly reach out to me that way from a website that I’d briefly browsed, without having logged in or otherwise entered any contact information. As if we didn’t already know we should be wary, take this as another example.


    Hi Brian,
    I suspect that event was triggered by a relatively new program called Facebook Retargeting.

    To counteract such things I have my browser set to automatically clear all cookies when I close it. And I close the browser several times a day; anytime I think there is a chance of info ‘leaking’ between websites.

    Then just before I shut off the computer each night, I run a free program called CCleaner to clear all temp files, cookies, can other junk files. Amazingly there are over 20MB every night.

    I hope this helps.

    Brian Dellinger

    Thanks, and welcome to the forum!

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