Firefox has a clever workaround for Facebook users worried about privacy

Image: Reuters/Albert Gea
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Mozilla is really taking advantage of Facebook’s latest troubles. First, in a splashy PR move, the company behind the Firefox internet browser pulled its advertising from Facebook. Now it’s also offering its users a way to bypass the social network’s controversial data collection practices.

The “Facebook Container” is a browser extension that, as the company says in a blog post, “isolates your Facebook identity from the rest of your web activity.” What this means is that when you’re logged onto Facebook on Firefox, the platform will be separated in a special walled-off tab—”the container.” The goal of the container is to make it harder for the social media giant to track what you’re doing on other sites through third-party cookies. When you click on a Facebook link on an external site, it loads into the container, and if you click on an outside link on Facebook, it loads into your regular browser window.

Facebook is notorious for relentlessly following its users with ads that are based on their online browsing or shopping, badgering people with images of the pair of shoes they were thinking about or even had already purchased.

The add-on would not have prevented a Cambridge Analytica incident, as Mozilla admits. But the company says it does give users “a choice to limit what they share in a way that is under their control is important.”

Mozilla says it does not collect data from the container use. Of course, the move isn’t purely altruistic: To use the container, you have to use the Firefox browser, giving the company a little boost.