Firefox's new add-on could protect your data from Facebook

Above Facebook in Firefox Image Credit Paul Sawers  VentureBeat

Above Facebook in Firefox Image Credit Paul Sawers VentureBeat

Mozilla says this is intended as the objective of the extension was to separate data created by using Facebook from data generated by using other websites. Of course, the move isn't purely altruistic: To use the container, you have to use the Firefox browser, giving the company a little boost.

In the wake of revelations over Facebook's data collection practices, Mozilla has launched a new extension for its popular Firefox web browser that can prevent Facebook from tracking user activity around the web. It's not an ad blocker so you'll continue to see ads as well. One is that you can't login to other websites using Facebook credentials, because the objective of the container is to isolate Facebook from other services and websites. This is how you know that the "container" is in effect.

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The browser maker said the Facebook Container add-on is based on technology it's been working on for the last couple of years, and that its release was accelerated in response to the controversy surrounding the misuse of Facebook user data. Given the latest data privacy scandal involving Trump-linked data firm Cambridge Analytica, Mozilla is letting internet users fight back.

Mozilla is one of several companies that have suspended advertising on Facebook following the news that data analysis company Cambridge Analytica had harvested data from 50 million people without permission. However, if you click a link that would take you to a page off of Facebook, it will load the URL outside the container. Because this extension is created to separate Facebook use from use of other websites, this behavior is expected.

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Facebook tracks its users online, far beyond the app and other services. Also, websites that ask you to log in with your Facebook credentials will not function properly. As the tracking is not actually blocked within the container, the sharing or liking activity will still be recorded and sent to Facebook, as per usual. Also, because you're logged into Facebook in the container tab, embedded Facebook comments and Like buttons in tabs outside the Facebook container tab will not work.

Specifically, it prevents Facebook from tracking your visits to other websites by deleting your Facebook cookies and logging you out of Facebook.

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