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Facebook Disconnect extension hits Firefox and Safari

No-tracking add-on gains users and options
Mon Oct 24 2011, 14:56

THE WEB BROWSER EXTENSION Facebook Disconnect, designed to protect users from one of the more onerous features of Facebook, is a year old, and to celebrate has released versions for Firefox and Safari.

In its first year the application, which was initially released for the Chrome browser, has been downloaded 150,000 times. It offers users a way of stopping the social networking web site from tracking them across the internet.

"Exactly one year ago, I noticed a virus infecting the web. Facebook widgets, mostly Like buttons, were popping up everywhere - alongside the articles I read, the music I listened to, the videos I watched. Worse, Facebook was (and is) serving these widgets off the same domain (facebook.com) as their login cookies," writes developer Brian Kennish.

"Being a tracking aficionado (I developed DoubleClick's mobile ad server and the, kludgy, precursor to Google's AdWords API), I recognised Facebook's strategy - collecting user browsing habits to sell to advertisers... I spent two hours writing 53 lines of JSON and JavaScript (and two more hours making a Ghostbusters-inspired logo) to inoculate my browser."

Kennish did not expect to have so many users for his extension, and to celebrate its first year has published versions for Firefox and Safari.

Facebook, meanwhile, continues to face accusations that it is infringing peoples' rights to privacy, and most recently has won the scrutiny, if not the affections, of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner. µ

 

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