Firefox wants to help you fool ad trackers with 100 useless browser tabs


Make Firefox even more functional with a few add-ons. — 123rf.com

LOS ANGELES: Advertisers are tracking you across the Web to build profiles and personalise ads. Firefox maker Mozilla now wants to help consumers bury their tracks, and throw off advertisers, with a fun little hack. 

The non-profit browser maker launched a new website called Track This on June 26 that opens 100 browser tabs to confuse ad trackers. Visitors simply choose one of four different generic consumer profiles, selecting whether they want to impersonate someone “filthy rich”, a “hypebeast” trend setter, a doomsday prepper or an influencer. 

Upon selecting one of those fake profiles, users are warned one more time that opening 100 tabs may put significant strains on their computer. They may also have to allow pop-ups depending on their browser. 

Then the madness begins, with 100 tabs opening in rapid succession. Anyone who selects the influencer profile will find these including sites like Warby Parker, Goop, Allure and more. “Advertisers will now think you obsess over skincare routines, holistic remedies, astrology and meditation apps, and of course, pushing the likes and subscribes on your vlog,” the site helpfully explains. 

Selecting the prepper profile on the other hand leads to websites for survivalists and Vice stories about aliens, while the “filthy rich” option leads to the websites of Chanel, Rolex and Thestreet.com. 

The idea: Each of these sites will use cookies to remember your visits, and most use tools from big advertising companies to build profiles across multiple web properties – which is why your Facebook ads often show you products you just researched on other websites. Throw in 100 false sites, and those profiles may be severely distorted, resulting in ads that may be less relevant, but also a lot less creepy. 

“Eventually, if you just use the Internet as you typically would day to day, you’ll start seeing ads again that align more closely to your normal browsing habits,” Mozilla explained in a blog post on June 26. 

The browser maker was quick to remind users that Firefox can be used to block this type of tracking altogether. – Variety/Reuters


   

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