Mozilla's new Firefox extension aims to keep Facebook from tracking you around the web

As news continues to trickle out concerning the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal and Facebook's role in it, the social media network is receiving more scrutiny than ever. Of particular concern is the realization of just how much data Facebook has on its users. If you're a Firefox user, however, you can now limit at least some of your exposure with a new extension from Mozilla.

In a post on its blog (opens in new tab), Mozilla has announced the new Facebook Container Extension (opens in new tab), a tool that is intended to make it much more difficult for Facebook to track what you do on other websites with third-party cookies. It does this by entirely isolating Facebook from all of your other browsing activity. From Mozilla:

When you install this extension it will delete your Facebook cookies and log you out of Facebook. The next time you visit Facebook it will open in a new blue-colored browser tab (aka "container tab"). In that tab you can login to Facebook and use it like you normally would. If you click on a non-Facebook link or navigate to a non-Facebook website in the URL bar, these pages will load outside of the container.

The only downside to the container is that, if you use your Facebook account to create an account or log in with another service, Mozilla says that it may not work properly and you may not be able to log in. Likewise, embedded Facebook comments and Like buttons outside of the Facebook container tab will not work.

If all of the recent controversy surrounding Facebook has you concerned, but you're not quite ready to give it up, then Mozilla's extension looks to be a viable middle-ground. But there are also a number of other steps you can take to limit your exposure, and our friends at iMore have put together a pretty handy guide on how to make sure you're keeping your Facebook data as private as possible.

See at Mozilla (opens in new tab)

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • People were OK with having their information tracked for years. Why all the issues now. Is not like their wasn't information about Facebook doing that. Heck, that company even told people they were doing it in order to make their current products better.
  • There is a HUGE difference between Facebook using the data they collect to make their product better and third parties using Facebook to collect data to do shady stuff like swaying elections. Just saying.
  • And Facebook allowing them to.
  • Facebook was clear about that too. When you login on a stupid personality test website or something like that and the website want access to all your information even though it doesn't need it for the test, Facebook is really clear, it tells you what the website wants to access and asks you if you want to allow it. The user has a huge part of the responsibility in that. It's been known for a long time that those shady websites were using that information for profit, but still, with the amount of websites that use Facebook login it's almost impossible for Facebook to go and test everything to make sure the websites really need what they're asking for, which is why it always tells the user in a really clear way and asks for their permission before giving that information.
  • Question...I've been using Ghostery for a while now. Should I be using this instead of/in conjunction with it?
  • Ghostery does a good job blocking trackers as best I can tell. Self Destroying Cookies is another good extension. It handles cookies from any site, and automatically deletes them after you leave the site. You can set delay on the deletion if needed, because sometimes when a site is forwarding you to another section and the cookies get deleted, you will encounter log on issues. You can also whitelist cookies from any site you wish should you need them. Yet another good one to check out is Privacy Badger, which is put out by the EFF. One interesting thing it does is block ads, but allow ads that honor "do not track" headers. That way you can support sites that use decent advertising practices.
  • Sounds great. Ghostery and maybe even uBlock help too.
  • I'm a fan of this.
  • Pretty sad when people have to block an app that they pretty much gave their entire life's information to.