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The Browser Extension that Protects You from Facebook's Prying Eyes

March 30 2018

Facebook Container ExtensionThere's been a lot of talk about Facebook lately--and we don't mean the run-of-the-mill "this is how you use Facebook to market your business" kind of talk. No, we mean the kind of talk that uses phrases like "Cambridge Analytica" and #deleteFacebook... in very angry tones.

Facebook is under fire for violating users' privacy by allowing data firm Cambridge Analytica to access the personal information of millions of Facebook users, which the firm then used to influence elections across the globe, including in the U.S.

So if you're concerned about your personal data in Facebook's hands, you're not alone. Facebook knows everything you do on their platform--and a lot about what you do even when you're off Facebook. While you can't prevent Facebook from knowing what you do while you're on Facebook, you can prevent it from tracking you while you're browsing the rest of the web.

How? Well, that's thanks to a new browser extension called Facebook Container. The extension "contains" Facebook in a special browser tab that essentially isolates it from the rest of the internet--and therefore prevents Facebook from tracking you.

It's like putting Facebook into a digital jail cell and forcing it to behave itself.

firefox facebook container extension

Mo' zilla, mo' no problems

Facebook Container is exclusive to Mozilla Firefox, as it takes advantage of a unique feature of the browser's architecture. (As does Firefox Multi-Account Containers, which protects your privacy across multiple sites--Google, Amazon, Twitter, etc.)

If you haven't tried Firefox in a while, check it out. The browser underwent a major overhaul late last year, which doubled its speed, among other things. Firefox Quantum is the new version, and it's emerged as a serious challenger to Google Chrome's dominanceserious challenger to Google Chrome's dominance in the browser wars.

A few notes on privacy

Online privacy is a complicated beast, so we thought we'd clear up few things about what this extension can and cannot do:

  • Facebook Container makes it hard for Facebook to track your web browsing activities on third-party sites--but only when you're using the Firefox web browser. The extension is not available for other browsers like Chrome and Safari.
  • Because the extension works on browsers only, Facebook Container cannot protect your phone from the Facebook app. (Your best protection from the Facebook mobile app is deleting it altogether. Then, you can use Firefox's mobile browser--with this extension installed--to access Facebook in a "Contained" tab.)
  • If you click a Facebook Share button on a third-party website, it will automatically open in a contained tab. Just be aware that Facebook will know what you share when you use that button.
  • If you use your Facebook credentials to log into other sites, they may not work with this extension. Same goes for Facebook comments and like buttons on third-party sites. This is because the extension deletes any cookies Facebook tries to store on your browser. This prevents Facebook from tracking you, but also makes it difficult to log into other sites with your Facebook ID.

You can learn more about the Facebook Container extension in this post from the Firefox blog.

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