Apple vs Facebook

It is a known fact that Facebook can track the activity of users via the comment fields and like & share buttons on posts regardless of whether you interact with those buttons. The Facebook like and share buttons are present on thousands of websites enabling Facebook to track users across multiple sites, revealing information about where users go, what they read online, where they shop and other browsing activity & habits.

Apple recently announced, at their WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference), that they would be addressing and cracking down on the privacy issues posed by Facebook and other websites that use similar techniques to track user activity. With the release of MacOS Mojave and IOS 12, Apple’s Browser, Safari will receive additional privacy tools which will detect when a website is trying to access browser cookies and available data, triggering a pop-up alert allowing the user to decide whether they want to give that specific website access to their cookies and data.

Safari will also crackdown on the amount of information it provides about the computer and additional features such as plugins and custom fonts installed on the browser, information that can currently be used to identify users by the unique combinations of add-ons installed in a process known as “Fingerprinting”, allowing websites to continue tracking users even after clearing cookies or changing browser.

Apple is not alone in the lock down of user tracking and cookie usage in websites; Mozilla is also implementing tracking protection in their Firefox browser allowing users to completely disable user tracking or toggle the option site by site. Opera Browser by Otello have also had similar controls in place for several years now allowing users to completely disable user tracking, camera access, geolocation information and referrer logging providing information on which sites users are coming from.

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