How To Block Facebook's Beacon

Don’t like Facebook secretly tracking your online purchases and telling your friends what you bought? Users of the Firefox we browser can use an easy add-on that jams the beacon’s signal. Just install the BlockSite add-on, and then add http://*facebook.com/beacon/* as one of the blocked sites. Make sure to keep those asterisks in. If that sounds a little complicated, this step-by-step walk-through at Wikihow shows you how it’s done. Alternatively, you could also add the same url to AdBlockPlus, another Firefox extension.

How to Block Facebook Beacon [WikiHow]
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  1. kimsama says:

    Where have I seen this before? Oh yeah, my comment I posted ^_~

  2. bricklayer says:

    Wait, don’t you first need to link your (Amazon, Netflix, etc) account info to Facebook before Beacon can track you?

  3. weave says:

    Shouldn’t Ad Block Plus add-in also do the same thing?

  4. wickedpixel says:

    @bricklayer: No, when you login to Facebook a cookie gets stored on your computer. the Beacon sites look for this cookie. Which bring up the question: if a friend used my computer to check her Facebook account and then I went and purchased something from one of the Beacon sites (and authorized Beacon to broadcast the purchase), would the purchase be attributed to my friend?

  5. tekkierich says:

    how about… don’t use facebook?

  6. StevieD says:

    How good, I can finally block my facebook account from knowing that I buy snail snuffing porn and green knee socks with pink pom-poms

  7. darkclawsofchaos says:

    @tekkierich: that makes perfect sense, but people like that stuff for some reason, so a consolation price is offered, not the best but better in theory,

  8. kimsama says:

    @tekkierich: Beacon will still send your information to Facebook (freaky, huh?), even if you’re not a member.

  9. Quellman says:

    @kimsama:
    I posted it on the 30th.
    @Here.

    No matter the more the better, must stop beacon from the one site on the list I visit.

  10. @kimsama: So Beacon is getting the information of everyone who goes to the web sites in the program?

  11. @Rectilinear Propagation: What I really meant to ask is “how”.

  12. synergy says:

    Stop using Facebook.

    I don’t like Firefox because it’s all or nothing on the cookies. I like to accept session cookies and toss everything else.

  13. @weave: I detailed how to block facebook beacon with adblock plus. It works for me; let me know if you have issues and I’ll look into them.

  14. unclescrooge says:

    can i ask an ignorant question? if you post your profile to one of these sites, myspace or facebook, why are you screaming bloody murder when your own disregard for your privacy causes you to know what you’re doing?

    I mean jeez…so many people stop just short of showing their physical exam photos on their profile pages and then describing for the whole world everything that goes on in their lives.

    But I’m not trying to troll…I don’t get it and I don’t understand those sites or social networking.

  15. mammalpants says:

    networking with friends is one thing. letting them “understand my habits” is another. this crap should be illegal.

    is it in the facebook ToS that people give them the right to do whatever they want with their information?

  16. HRHKingFriday says:

    @unclescrooge: Well, take livejournal or typepad. Some people write blogs online and prefer not to broadcast it to their real-life friends. Sometimes these private blogs have to do with some kind of illness, like AA, and places like livejournal offer a place to meet other people dealing with the same issues. Or maybe you like to blog about being a trekkie and don’t feel like telling your coworkers on your facebook network. Or maybe you like to rent lots of trekkie movies on your blockbuster account. Would you like all of your facebook friends to know that?

    Most people aren’t going to be horribly offended or embarassed, because they are well adjusted adults. But there are also college students and teens with complex lives.

    And then there are people on consumerist/gizmodo who know a lot about online privacy issues and targeted advertising. And for us, the only way to explain our objection is that its a slippery slope between innocent cookies and selling your information to skeezy companies that may or may not have safe data storage, etc etc.

  17. m0unds says:

    @tekkierich: You’re a genius. If you like privacy, don’t use social networking sites. Simple and effective.

  18. Presumably one can just add [∗.facebook.com] to AdBlock for the same effect?

  19. @Jonathan Harford: *cough*

    Presumably one can just add http:/ /∗.facebook.com/beacon/∗ to AdBlock for the same effect?

  20. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Am I the only one here who feels it’s a tad bitchy to just be telling the users of these social networking sites to suck it up? We seem to be forgetting that there are varying degrees of privacy in these situations. And we also seem to be forgetting that people aren’t getting all up in arms about things being broadcast about them per se, but rather that things are being broadcast that they were never TOLD would be, or things that they were led to believe would be kept private, per user agreements and the like.

    People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. For real – quit suggesting people just ‘don’t use’ these sites. It’s not a viable option in some scenarios.

  21. kimsama says:

    @Quellman: You win ^_^

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Information about the code and its possible effects/uses that I saw were here, here, and here.

    Facebook claims that if you’re not a member or not logged in, they discard the information, even though it’s still sent (without FB user info), so whew! I feel better already! We all know how honest they are.

  22. Project Thanatos says:

    Second Sentence:

    “Users of the Firefox we browser can use an easy add-on that jams the beacon’s signal.”

    That word after Firefox should be WEB… not WE

  23. Maude Buttons says:

    @Project Thanatos: Thank goodness you were here. I just hope you weren’t too late.

  24. rachaeljean says:

    Perhaps a dumb question, but does anyone know if this will work with Safari??

  25. truebluegeeks says:

    @tekkierich:

    what? it will send your information even if you are not a member? how is that even possible? If you don’t have a facebook account you don’t have the cookie therefore you don’t send any information to facebook…idiot.

    @pinkbunnyslippers:

    yes you are being bitchy, YOU SINGED THE TERMS OF SERVICE WHEN YOU JOINED!! facebook is doing nothing wrong…you made the mistake of not reading of the clearly written TOS (I am not going to take the time to cut and paste it, if you don’t belive me read it yourself because i know you didn’t when you signed up for facebook).

    “quit suggesting people just ‘don’t use’ these sites. It’s not a viable option in some scenarios.”

    how? you RELY on a social networking site for somthing? That is just sad if it is true…seriously. if you rely on facebook for anything you have serious issues and might need to enroll in some sort of internet-obsession rehab program (I’m being serious not sarcastic)

    people if you have a problem about your privacy it doesn’t just end at facebook, you have to cut yourself out of the ‘net entirely. Honestly most companies don’t give a damn about you as a person, they just have a machine auto send you ads based on your shopping habits…no real person ever looks at your data (your not worth it) so i don’t see wht the big deal is about. Who care who knows what you buy? seriously is it that big of a deal?

    I am a member of facebook, i don’t care about what they do…but if you do have a problem, no one requires you to be a member of the site…so..hmm….. quit!

  26. kimsama says:

    @rachaeljean: Use Pith Helmet if you’re on Safari. You’d add pretty much the same line as your would to do this in FF BlockSite.

  27. kimsama says:

    @rachaeljean: Safari Block is a free extension that should do this too, in case you don’t want to lay out $10 for Pith Helmet!

  28. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    @truebluegeeks: Yikes! Calm down! I’m not expressing my own feelings here, but rather just playing Devil’s advocate. To your point that Facebook’s TOS says they can basically do whatever they want with your info…since you seem so passionate about it, I’ll trust you.

    And I’m not saying people RELY on facebook, per se – I’m simply stating that the whole premise of these sites were conceptualized with the idea in mind that you could use them to keep in touch quickly with broad groups of people. For instance, my HS reunion is using it as a planning source. So as an easy way to keep apprised of those plans, I stay signed up for convenience sake. Quitting would be a royal pain in the butt, in that instance.

    So I’m not defending facebook, nor am I defending the people who are bitching about their privacy being ‘violated’ – simply providing another perspective.

    Sorry to have struck a nerve.

  29. UpsetPanda says:

    I bought shoes off Zappos yesterday and nothing’s appeared in my Facebook threads, as far as I can tell…and it was from my home computer, which didn’t have the blocking app installed yet.

  30. kimsama says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: A pop-up will only appear if you have a FB account and are logged in (or possibly are using your FB email). One of the links I posted above explains that the pop-up won’t appear if you’re not logged in or whatever, but if you track it, you can see the data is still being sent (it just won’t be posted to FB).

  31. rachaeljean says:

    @kimsama: THANKS!!! :)