The recent Cambridge Analytica scandal brought Facebook’s privacy issues to a head. Concerns over how Facebook manages user data, along with other highly charged issues around political advertising, had been simmering for months and then exploded recently with reports that Facebook was mining user data without receiving permission. There is even a #DeleteFacebook movement that’s received support for notable tech celebrities like Tesla’s Elon Musk.
If you’re concerned about how Facebook is tracking you as you surf the web, then Firefox browser developer Mozilla has the tool for you. In a blog post on Tuesday, March 27, Mozilla introduced a new Firefox Container add-on that “isolates your Facebook identify from the rest of your web activity.” According to Mozilla, once you have installed the add-on, Facebook will find it much more difficult to track your browsing habits outside of the social media site but your use of Facebook itself won’t be directed.
To install the add-on, simply go to the appropriate Firefox add-on page and click the “+ Add to Firefox” button. You will be asked to grant permission and then whenever you visit Facebook, note the blue Facebook label to the right of the URL box. Its presence indicates that your browsing sessions will be protected from Facebook’s prying eyes as you surf away from the site.
The Facebook Container add-in is the result of years of work by Mozilla, resulting in technology that the organization is now making available to users in response to “growing demand for tools that help manage privacy and security.” The add-in’s benefit is that it allows users to continue to use Facebook while avoiding some of the “unexpected side effects.” Mozilla stresses that the Facebook Container would not have stopped the kind of issue highlighted by the Cambridge Analytica incident.
Mozilla points out that Facebook isn’t the only site that’s collecting your information, and recommends that you review each service to understand how it’s gathering and using your data. That is sage advice. For anyone concerned specifically about Facebook and who wants to learn more, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has more information on how to adjust your Facebook settings for improved privacy.