Mozilla Releases New Tool To Block Tracking By Facebook

Noel Cummings
March 28, 2018

So this add-on, really, is more about stopping Facebook from tracking you passively as you shift from website to website.

The new Firefox add-on seems like an easy alternative if you need to keep your account and use Facebook's features for your business, for example, while stopping Facebook from tracking you. It's not an ad blocker so you'll continue to see ads as well. By doing so, it's much harder for Facebook to track any visits to other websites through third-party cookies. Still, most people are looking for a measure of control over a site they think has taken an outsized chunk of their privacy, and, if you run Firefox, or are willing to migrate to it, the container might be a good solution for limiting it.

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When you install this extension it will delete your Facebook cookies and log you out of Facebook. It's available as a free download for Firefox and as you can probably imagine, the extension isn't available for any other web browser. The next time you navigate to Facebook it will load in a special blue browser tab (this is the "Container").

Following a link from Facebook to a different site will cause it to open in a new tab outside the container, and clicking Share buttons on other sites will open them within the container.

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Those rules led to political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica collecting the information of more than 50 million Facebook users without express permission to do so. Although the company's revenue still depends on advertising, it recently also "paused" its Facebook ads over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, to let Facebook know that such data sharing practices are not acceptable. It does this by isolating your Facebook session from the rest of your browser activity, theoretically preventing the platform from harvesting data on your web browsing habits.

The extension also Facebook's single-sign on service that allows users to sign into with their Facebook credentials. Click the "Add To Firefox" button and the extension will go to work blocking Facebook's tracking methods. That code can identify a Facebook user, collect information about what they interact with on the page and show interest in and help advertisers better direct their content for the user.

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