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Facebook Container extension prevents Facebook tracking in Firefox

Facebook Container is a new browser extension for Firefox by Mozilla that isolates Facebook from the rest of your browsing history to prevent tracking.

Internet and computer users are exposed to different kinds of tracking when they use their devices or browse sites on the Internet.

From device telemetry that companies collect over software specific diagnostics to online tracking. Online tracking with cookies is probably the most common form but there are other ways to track users online that use other types of temporary or permanent bits of data placed on the user device, or fingerprinting.

The larger a site or service is, the more pull it has when it comes to online tracking. Facebook has one of the largest user bases on the planet and sites tend to implement the company’s like scripts and other scripts because of that.

Whenever you visit a site that implements these scripts, Facebook knows about it and may use the information to better profile you.

Facebook Container for Firefox

facebook container prevent tracking

Facebook Container is a new extension for the Firefox web browser that isolates Facebook from the rest of the Web. It uses the recently introduced Containers functionality of the Firefox web browser to do so.

Think of a container as a sandbox that keeps sites and their data separate from the rest of the browser.

Mozilla’s Facebook Container extension isolates Facebook from the rest of the browser. If you open Facebook in Firefox, it gets opened in the container, and if you activate links that point to Facebook, they too get opened in the container.

Any link that you click in the Facebook tab gets opened in it unless it points to a third-party site. If that is the case, that site will not be opened in the Facebook container but outside of it. A click on a YouTube link opens YouTube outside of the container, a link that points to another Facebook page inside.

When you install the extension in Firefox, all your Facebook cookies get deleted and you are logged out of Facebook. The next time you open Facebook you will notice that it opens in the Container, indicated with a blue icon and the name Facebook in the Firefox address bar. You need to sign in again as the container handles cookies and other things independently.

Facebook’s Container uses functionality that the default Containers functionality does not support. While you can create and use Containers in all supported versions of Firefox, you can’t associate sites with containers.

Firefox users may use the Temporary Containers extension which extends the functionality of containers.

The extension for Firefox improves privacy in several ways:

  1. It keeps Facebook isolated in a single container which means that Facebook’s like, share and other widgets that websites may embed won’t be associated with your Facebook account.
  2. Third-party connections to Facebook are not associated with the account.

One downside to Facebook being isolated in its own container in the Firefox browser is that some features may not work properly anymore. Sites that support account registration or sign ins using Facebook credentials can’t be used anymore with a Facebook account.

How good is the protection?

Facebook Container does not offer full protection against all forms of tracking. Anything you do on Facebook or inside the container is still recognized by Facebook

It should be clear that Facebook knows about photos that you upload to the service, about comments you leave, or likes you give.

Facebook may also know about your activities from third-parties, e..g advertising agencies or marketing companies it works with.

Facebook Container limits Facebook tracking on the Internet, however.

Closing Words

Facebook Container is a privacy extension for the Firefox web browser that limits Facebook tracking on the Internet. It does so by isolating Facebook from the rest of the Internet but that comes at the cost of some functionality (share, like, sign in) that won’t work properly anymore.

Firefox users have plenty of other options at their disposal to limit Facebook tracking. They can use a different browser profile or different browser for Facebook, access Facebook only on your mobile, clear cookies regularly, or use content blockers with social blocklists.

Now You: How do you protect yourself from online tracking?

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