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Firefox add-on stops Facebook from tracking web browsing habits

/ 03:55 PM April 01, 2018

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A new add-on for Firefox helps users isolate their activities online from Facebook’s tracking algorithms.

The Facebook Container add-on was created by the Mozilla Foundation itself, the same company that made Firefox. Installing the add-on unto the Firefox browser automatically deletes Facebook cookies and logs, according to the add-on description.

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Image: Firefox Add-ons

Mozilla created the add-on in response to the fall-out of the Cambridge Analytica scandal where Facebook user information was reportedly misused for the United States 2016 presidential elections.

Every time a user logs on to Facebook, the social media site gets its own blue “container” tab. Everything that happens in this container tab will not be shared to other websites. It essentially becomes a self-contained environment for browsing the Facebook site. On the other hand, all activity within the tab will still get tracked by Facebook. Mozilla warns that ad networks may still try to match a user’s Facebook activity with regular browsing habits.

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Image: Firefox Add-ons

Mozilla recognizes Facebook as a service people still use and find convenient, so they consider the Facebook Container as a limiting tool to help preserve a user’s privacy while still allowing use of the social media platform.

Due to the isolating nature of the container add-on, some Facebook features integrated in websites such as embedded comments and Like buttons will not work. Meanwhile, Share buttons on websites would still send Facebook information from the website users shared from. This information could later be used to curate content for the Facebook user.

Integrated share buttons. Image: INQUIRER.net

Clicking on a link inside the container tab opens up a new tab outside the container to help prevent directly linking what website the user likes to browse.

Lastly, typing in a new URL address on the container’s address bar will open a new tab. Users will not be able to use the Back button to go back to FB from the new tab.

Mark Zuckerberg stated that his social media company has taken steps to help protect user privacy by revamping Facebook’s security settings and data policy. JB

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TOPICS: add-on, browsing habits, Facebook, Firefox, Mozilla
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