Firefox’s New Plugin Blocks Facebook from Collecting Users’ Data When They’re Not on the Site

Mozilla, the internet company behind Firefox, has reacted aggressively to the Facebook data scandal, including introduce new user protections and cutting off its advertising on the social media site.

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Mar 27 2018, 5:53pm

Image: Pexels

In the wake of the Facebook data scandal, many users are only now realizing just how insidious the social network’s data-collection techniques are. Facebook is collecting information on its users even when they’re not on the site itself, which is why Mozilla has introduced a new browser plugin for Firefox that blocks Facebook from doing just that.

“There’s enormous value in tying this data to your social profile, and Facebook has a network of trackers on various websites,” Mozilla wrote in a blog post about the new plugin. “This code tracks you invisibly and it is often impossible to determine when this data is being shared.”

The new plugin, called Facebook Container, blocks these trackers by deleting your Facebook cookies and logging you out of the site. The next time you go to Facebook, it will open a special tab (or “container”) where you can login separately from the rest of your browser. This is to limit what information Facebook can collect from users as they surf the web, which is used to target advertisements. It doesn’t prevent any of the data collection that occurs on Facebook itself, but if you’re not ready to delete your account just yet, it’s one way to reign in the amount of information you’re leaking to Facebook whenever you’re online.

Mozilla has reacted quickly to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, first releasing a petition calling for better privacy protections on Facebook, then announcing it would “pause” advertising on the site too. The new plugin is the company’s latest effort to bolster its own privacy reputation by building off of Facebook’s publicity nightmare.

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