Sunday, October 2, 2011

How To Disable Social Networks Like Facebook From Tracking You with The Priv3 Firefox Extension

It has been a hot topic from the day it was found that Facebook is tracking visits of users even after logging out. So here is a quick solution named Priv3.

How Social Networking Sites Can Track You :

    In order to integrate interactive features—such as buttons, comment forums, activity feeds, or recommendations—from social networking sites, authors of web content integrate HTML snippets or JavaScript code provided by the social networks into their pages.
For example, when you are logged into your Google or Facebook account and visit a movie review page on, your browser automatically pulls in the "+1" button from Google's servers and the "Like" button from Facebook. These downloads include the session cookies your browser uses to inform Google and Facebook that you have previously logged in, and so Google and Facebook automatically learn about your personal interest in the movie page you're looking at, even if you never actually click on either of their buttons.         

How Priv3 Works :

    Blocking simple "web bugs" or "trackers" is fairly straightforward, because doing so does not harm your web surfing experience. By contrast, completely blocking social networking features is counterproductive, because doing prevents you from actually using these features—say to leave a comment, or to "like" something—when you would like to do so.
Therefore, Priv3 does not block third-party interactions completely. Instead, it selectively suppresses the inclusion of third-party web cookies when your browser pulls in content from the social networks, but does provide them if you decide to interact with the social networking features. You still see the number of "likes" the page has accumulated on Facebook or the comments other people left using Facebook's discussion mechanism. Facebook however only learns the IP address of the computer you are using.
Should you decide to interact with the social feature, Priv3 detects any mouseclick or keystroke directed at the feature. It then reloads it with your session cookies and passes on the click or keystroke, thus revealing your identity to the social network and informing it of your desired action.         

Priv3's Currently Supported Social Networking Sites :
It currently understands the interactive features of the following social networks:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google +1
  • LinkedIn

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