Categories: MarketingSocialMedia

Firefox Plug-In To Halt Facebook Data Scraping

Mozilla has responded to the growing demand for tools that can help people manage privacy, with a plug-in for its Firefox web browser.

Mozilla is calling the Firefox plug-in the ‘Facebook Container‘, and its arrival is a direct response to the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal.

This scandal saw Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier this week refuse to face British MPs to answer questions over data abuse.

Web tracking

Mozilla made clear that it feels that people are finding it now too complex to understand the implications of interacting with certain social media platforms.

And thus it is offering a simple plug-in to help users control what data Facebook gathers, despite the fact that there are already a number of ways for protecting people’s personal data on the platform.

“In light of recent news on how the aggregation of user data can be used in surprising ways, we’ve created an add-on for Firefox called Facebook Container, based on technology we’ve been working on for the last couple of years and accelerated in response to what we see in terms of growing demand for tools that help manage privacy and security,” Mozilla wrote in a blog posting.

The pages you visit on the web can say a lot about you,” Mozilla said. “There’s enormous value in tying this data to your social profile, and Facebook has a network of trackers on various websites. This code tracks you invisibly and it is often impossible to determine when this data is being shared.”

“Facebook Container isolates your Facebook identity from the rest of your web activity,” said Mozilla. “When you install it, you will continue to be able to use Facebook normally. Facebook can continue to deliver their service to you and send you advertising. The difference is that it will be much harder for Facebook to use your activity collected off Facebook to send you ads and other targeted messages.”

Mozilla said its Facebook Container is not a solution that simply tells users to stop using a service that they get value from. Instead, it gives users the ability to protect themselves from the unexpected side effects of their usage.

Intense pressure

Mozilla stressed that the type of data gathered in the recent Cambridge Analytica incident would not have been prevented by Facebook Container. But the plug-in will give users a choice to limit what they share in a way that is under their control.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a man under intense pressure at the moment. The US’ Federal Trade Commission (FTC) plans to investigate Facebook over the miuse of data on 50 million users by Cambridge Analytica.

And billions of dollars have already been wiped off the value of the Facebook, and last weekend Facebook ran newspaper adverts across America to apologise for the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

How much do you know about privacy? Try our quiz!

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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