Two years ago, Facebook began using the ubiquitous “like” buttons that publishers put on their sites to track people’s web browsing and use that information to target ads on and off the social network.
Now, Facebook may find it harder to follow people around the web.
The Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature that Apple has added to its Safari web browser on desktop and mobile can disable Facebook’s ability to track people who visit third-party websites that feature Facebook’s Social Plugins, such as its “like” and “share” buttons, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed on Monday.
Since 2015, every time a person loads a page on a site that features one of Facebook’s Social Plugins, Facebook would receive information from the site about the visitor, “like the person’s user ID, the website they’re visiting, the date and time, and other browser-related info,” according to Facebook’s developer documentation.
But Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention — which is enabled by default when people upgrade to Safari’s latest version on mobile and desktop — can deactivate Facebook’s plugins and prevent them from sending this data when they visit a site via Safari.
Now, if a person has not visited Facebook’s own site within the last 24 hours, Facebook’s Social Plugins will be disabled on others’ sites until the person completes “an additional confirmation screen in order to use Facebook’s Social Plugins such as Like, Comment or Share,” according to a Facebook blog post published last week.