Mozilla Firefox releases new tracker blocking update

Firefox blocks tracking cookies

Late last month, Google disappointed developers and users by revealing Chrome would stop supporting several popular ad blockers. Now, its longtime rival Mozilla made an announcement that will likely please the same people the tech giant let down. The firm’s browser will block website cookies that allow advertisers to track users as they surf the web.

Furthermore, the tech company has introduced a new feature that will make using Facebook a less invasive experience.

Enhanced Tracking Protection

Mozilla initially debuted its enhanced tracking protection feature in October but disabled it because it caused browsing errors. Since then, the organization has worked out the plugin’s kinks, and the tool is now live.

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In a June 4 blog post, the company explained it rolled out the new program to give users a safer web browsing experience. The firm further noted it wanted to differentiate itself from the rest of the tech sector by actually honoring its espoused commitment to privacy.

Mozilla’s anti-cookie update helps the organization stay on trend with the rest of the web browser industry. In September 2017, Apple introduced a Safari update called intelligent tracking prevention. The feature automatically deletes cookies from websites that track users from one site to another.

Furthermore, last month, Google stated it would be changing the way Chrome deals with website cookies. Later this year, the enhanced browser will alert users when a site they’re visiting wants to enable cross-site tracking. At that point, consumers can either clear the cookie or allow publishers to access their browsing data.

In retrospect, it’s worth pondering whether or not the Silicon Valley company offered up an improved anti-tracking tool to mitigate the response to its new approach to ad blockers.

Facebook Container

Mozilla also unveiled an update for its Facebook Container browser extension on Tuesday. When introduced in March of last year, the application prevented the social networking site from tracking user browsing activity. Now, the feature further blocks the network from tracking consumers on websites that utilize embedded Facebook “Like” and “Share” buttons.

As a result, Mozilla users can utilize Facebook and rest secure in the knowledge that its algorithms aren’t harvesting as much of their data. In its blog post, the organization specifically noted how the update would prevent the service from creating robust shadow profiles.

For perspective, Facebook uses these shadow profiles to create consumer personas using indirect data collection. When Congress questioned CEO Mark Zuckerberg in April, he claimed to be unfamiliar with the term. However, The Verge pointed out the social media company gives the public the ability to download their indirectly gathered data.

With its new Firefox updates, Mozilla has staked out an interesting position within the tech landscape. The firm’s enhanced tracking protection will likely aggravate advertisers the same way Safari’s intelligent tracking protection did when it launched. Similarly, the company’s Facebook Container improvements will probably displease the social network because it nullifies its infamous data collection tools.

Consequently, Mozilla has established itself as a consumer-focused alternative to some of America’s most prominent online service providers. As such, the firm might experience a significant uptick in active users as the Department of Justice begins its Big Tech antitrust inquest.