In addition to the myriad of methods Facebook (now Meta) uses to track you while using their social networking platform, the company also has a variety of ways to track you even when you’re on another website. Now, a new study is trying to combat Facebook’s tracking tools by… tracking them back.
Researchers at Mozilla, the company behind the popular Firefox browser, have launched a “Facebook Pixel Hunt” program that seeks to track Facebook’s “octopus faucet” across the Internet and investigate information the company has stolen. collected about users.
This study focuses on a piece of tracking technology known as the “Facebook pixel”. Chances are you’ve visited a website that uses it; This technology is buried by Facebook in millions of websites worldwide, from online stores to news sites. In exchange for the free Facebook pixel integration on their websites, these sites can then track visitors and direct ads with the same precision you’d expect from a company like Facebook.
On the other hand, by giving websites the ability to track every page view, purchase, search query, and more, Facebook naturally requires this data to be shared with them as well. In the event that a website visitor has an account on some Facebook platform, this data will be included in whatever Facebook already knows about the person. If they don’t have a Facebook account, the company still collects that data and uses it to create “hidden profiles”.
This is the type of information that Mozilla wants to track for research and you can participate if you’re using Firefox. Mozilla has partnered with reporters from The Markup to collect details about Facebook’s tracking using the free Mozilla Rally extension, which will store data sent by the Facebook pixel as you browse. web.
In addition to that data, the extension also tracks the time, the URL the browser visits, and more. Mozilla says the data extracted from the extension will be de-identified and not shared with any third parties other than The Markup reporters.