Mozilla Will Monitor Facebook’s Tracking of You

by - – As part of Mozilla’s “Facebook Pixel Hunt” project, which will run through mid-July, you’re invited to participate. Even if you’re not using any of Facebook’s many platforms, the business may still watch your every step without you realizing it thanks to the firm’s numerous nefarious methods of tracking your online activity. Now, a new research aims to fight back against these faraway trackers by… tracking them back. “Facebook Pixel Hunt,” a new investigation by Mozilla researchers, aims to monitor the company’s massive web-wide tracking network and probe the info it collects on individuals.

According to the study’s title, the “Facebook pixel” is the subject of this investigation. Almost every website on the internet, from online retailers to news sites to… well, you get the idea…. makes use of one of these small bits of electronics. Because of this, these sites can now monitor their own users and target adverts with the same kind of accuracy you’d expect from a data-hungry firm like Facebook.

When you give these sites the ability to monitor every pageview, purchase, search query, and more, Facebook (naturally) wants that this data be shared with them as well. Offsite data may be added to Facebook profiles if the user already has an account on the social network. If they don’t have a Facebook account, the corporation takes that data and uses it to construct a “shadow profile” of that individual.

These are the kinds of things Mozilla’s staff is interested in investigating with this study—and if you use Firefox, you can help them out. Using Mozilla Rally, a free browser plugin that collects data given out by Facebook’s pixels while you surf the web, Mozilla and reporters from the Markup joined together to learn more about Facebook tracking and how to prevent it.

Additionally, the extension records information such as how long a user spends on various web sites, the URLs that a user visits, and much more. Only de-identified data would be exported from the extension and not shared with any other parties other than the Markup’s reporters, Mozilla said in its statement. For a 17-month examination into predictive policing technologies, Gizmodo collaborated with the Markup.

It’s a great research that is consistent with Mozilla’s other crowdsourcing projects. Recently, it teamed together with Princeton University academics to study how various people engage with political and pandemic coverage. There had previously been a different plugin called “RegretsReporter,” which used data from YouTube recommendations to investigate the kinds of horrible rabbit holes that platform was attempting to force its customers down.