How the new SmartBlock feature works in Firefox


SmartBlock is part of Firefox's tracking protection that fights to track user activity on the Internet.

Mozilla introduced the improved privacy feature SmartBlock 2.0 in Firefox Stable 90, which was released two weeks ago.

You have to wait 60 seconds.

To better understand what SmartBlock is and exactly what it does, you need to understand how Tracking Protection works in Firefox.

Mozilla introduced Tracking Protection in Firefox in 2015 and has made several improvements to this privacy feature since then.

All Firefox installations use Standard Tracking Protection by default, which blocks specific trackers, cookies, and other unwanted scripts to balance protection and performance. In this mode, tracking modules and cross-site cookies are blocked only in private windows.

Firefox users can switch to Strict or Personal protection mode. The Strict mode extends the blocking to all browser windows, which makes the protection more effective.

Tracking Protection does not block ads. While it can block some types of advertisements, it focuses on blocking scripts and tracking elements.

Note: Select the shield icon in the Firefox address bar, and then select Tracking Content from the menu that opens to see all trackers blocked on the active page.{alertWarning}

One of the main problems faced by extensions and browsers that block tracking scripts is associated with the high probability of site disruption. Facebook is a prime example. Site domains are included in many tracking protection lists, including the list Firefox uses to block tracking for its users.

The problem is that Facebook scripts may be required for certain functionality, such as being able to use your Facebook account to log into third-party sites.

When registering for many services, you can use Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. In this case, the registration process is much faster, and you will use the credentials of the selected service to log in to the site.

One of the drawbacks of this approach is that the company whose credentials are used to log in will receive additional information, and its scripts and files can be used for tracking purposes.

If Facebook is blocked by tracking protection, then you will not be able to log in to a third-party site using this social network account. Many users of Firefox private windows faced this problem, choosing the Strict blocking mode.

Firefox 90 introduces improved SmartBlock 2.0 to address these compatibility issues. In fact, SmartBlock 2.0 blocks all trackers, as before, but if the user needs to use some functional element, for example, the "Continue with Facebook" button, then the Facebook scripts will be loaded in time for the authorization process to proceed correctly.

Firefox will only allow scripts on sites where users have signed in with Facebook or interacted with the "Continue" button. On all other sites, scripts from Facebook and other tracking modules will be blocked as before.

SmartBlock 2.0 automatically works in private windows. If you need protection in regular windows, then you need to switch to the Strict or Personal anti-tracking modes, which involve activating protection in all windows.

Thus, Firefox users who choose third-party services to create new accounts and use the Anti-Tracking Protection mode Strict or Private Windows will benefit from SmartBlock 2.0.

You can also use separate accounts, email aliases, and disposable email addresses to reduce the amount of data collected by third parties such as Facebook, Google, or Microsoft.

Do you use third-party services when registering new accounts?

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