What you need to know
- Vivaldi, Mozilla, and Brave have come out with strong statements against Google's FLoC.
- FLoC uses your data to place you into groups for the purpose of advertising.
- Microsoft also commented on FLoC, and appears to be against it.
It turns out that browsers of a feather don't flock together. Brave, Vivaldi, Microsoft, and Mozilla have all come out against Google's FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts). The controversial technology is criticized by several companies due to privacy concerns.
FLoC looks at your browser history with an algorithm and puts you into a group of people with similar histories for the purposes of advertising. It's a complicated technology that many browser makers have come out against. As pointed out by The Verge Google seems to be the only browser maker that plans to use FLoC.
Brave wrote a blog post titled "A Step in the Wrong Direction" explaining why its against FLoC. One section of the post states that "FLoC is Harmful to Web Users," stating"
Brave's post goes deep into details about how FLoC affects the ability for sites to track you, how FLoC handles your browsing history, and more.
Vivaldi shared a similar blog post titled "No, Google! Vivaldi users will not get FLoC'ed." It's not surprising to see Vivaldi take this stance, as it emphasizes privacy in several areas. Vivaldi calls FLoC "dangerous" and explains why it doesn't support FLoC:
Vivaldi even has a video rejecting FLoC.
Microsoft wasn't as firm against FLoC as other browser makers, but doesn't seem to be planning to utilize it. Microsoft told the Verge:
Microsoft's comments on fingerprinting suggest that Microsoft isn't a fan of FLoC.
Mozilla also doesn't plan to use FLoC in Firefox. Mozilla told The Verge:
The majority of criticism from the companies revolves around transparancy and how much data FLoC shares with sites. It's unclear how this many browsers turning it down will affect FLoC going forward.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com.