No-judgment digital definitions: What are social media trackers?

Firefox
Firefox
Oct 22 · 3 min read

Let’s be honest. We’re usually pretty particular about what we post on social media, right? When we’re on vacation, we’ll post photos on Facebook of a beautiful sunset… and crop out the guy wearing the “no shirt, no shoes, no problem” T-shirt. We’ll post on LinkedIn about our exciting new job… but not that we were laid off four months earlier and self-medicated with pints of ice cream.

While we choose what we want to share with our friends and followers, we don’t get to choose what those social media platforms learn about us behind the scenes.

Because of social media trackers.

What are social media trackers?

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn place trackers on other websites so they can follow what you do and see online. They do this to hit you with targeted, uncannily relevant ads. (You know that medical condition you’d like to keep under wraps, yet you still see medication for it on Facebook? Yep, that’s trackers snooping on you.)

If you didn’t choose to share your web activity with your friends, you shouldn’t have to share it with social media companies, either. What you want to keep private should stay private.

What can you do?

Simply using the Firefox browser is a great place to start. Enhanced Tracking Protection automatically blocks the most common social media trackers from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and LinkedIn from following you around the internet — and you can see how many social media trackers have been blocked in your protection report.

Contain Facebook

Firefox has worked to find the right balance of tracking protection while not breaking your favorite websites. If you’re looking to specifically prevent Facebook tracking, check out the Facebook Container. It blocks trackers on sites that have Facebook integration from collecting info on you (even when you don’t have a Facebook account). It does mean that the embedded Facebook login and comments options may not work because the Container separates Facebook use from the use of other websites.

If you’re using Firefox products, you’re likely noticing a theme: we think your privacy should come first. So, our browsers, extensions and everything else we make work to give you control over your info. That’s the Firefox promise to you.


Originally published at The Firefox Frontier.

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