News

Blocking social media, 'like' and share buttons

April 23, 2016

Announcing a new domain block list

Today we announce a new domain block list, specifically for blocking social media domains, including domains known for providing 'like' and share buttons on so many websites.

Blocking these domains can be a huge privacy improvement for you - if you do not like those services. Afterall, whenever your browser downloads the content of a website, that content may also include like or share buttons from third party domains, like www.facebook.com, www.sharethis.com and so many others.

Such social media companies offer these buttons to ease the process of sharing something with others about the visited website. However, whenever your browser downloads such a button on a website you visit (e.g. www.imexample.com), your browser sends potentially privacy sensitive information to that third party domain (e.g. facebook.com) hosting the like or share button. It is important to note here that you do not even have to have a user account at any of those third party domains in order to share sensitive information about your visit with them. In the figure below you can see what a browser is actually sending to a third party domain (Facebook in this case) in order to download the like button shown on the website (e.g. www.imexample.com) not affiliated with the third party domain.

As you can see, the third party domain now knows your IP address and the exact URL of the website you are visiting. Depending on your cookie settings in your browser, your browser might even send a cookie in that same request, exposing your online behaviour even more - tracking you and your online behaviour became suddenly even easier for them.


As you can imagine, blocking those third party domains stops your browser requesting a like or share button. Hence, your browser stops sending potentially sensitive privacy information about your online habits, improving your online privacy.

Besides those social media buttons, this block list blocks actually all forms of communication with any of those common social media domains. If you still want to use your preferred social media service, like linkedin.com, and block all other social media services, then you can enable this block list and add an exception in My custom rules.

This blocklist is only available to those having a Barriqade Professional license and will not be enabled by default.


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