Firefox blocks trackers

If you haven’t already switched to Firefox, do it now

Firefox has announced plans to block all third-party trackers. Why haven’t you switched yet?

Katharine Schwab

This week, Mozilla announced that its browser Firefox will start blocking all cross-site third-party trackers–the cookies hiding in the background that follow your clicks across the web, reporting your activity to advertisers as you move between websites.

Trackers don’t just track you–they also slow download times for websites. Mozilla cites a study by the ad-blocker Ghostery, which found that 55% of the time required to load a website is spent loading third-party trackers. Without these trackers, sites will load faster, making the overall user experience better. Mozilla will be testing how much blocking trackers impact load times in September–if its approach to blocking trackers does reduce load times, it will roll out the same technology to the regular Firefox browser later this year. If you’re interested in trying it out now, you can download Firefox Nightly to see how the features work.

It’s important that these changes will be integrated into the Firefox browser by default–something other tech platforms haven’t done. Companies like Apple and YouTube have started rolling out features to address the addictive nature of their interfaces, claiming they are giving users more control over their digital lives. These features are similar to Firefox’s new settings–they’re all in the name of giving users a better experience–but they still require users to dig through their settings to reap the benefits. Mozilla is making the choice that’s best for users automatically. You can opt-out if you want to, but for the many who will never bother to look through their browser settings, they’ll be protected from the get-go.

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