Firefox automatically removes tracking from URLs

Mozilla has released Firefox version 102 with a new privacy feature that prevents sites like Facebook from tracking you across websites by removing labels from URLs used to track you.

Many companies, including Facebook, use custom URL query labels to track link clicks. For example, Facebook associates fbclid’s query rating with outbound links to track clicks.

With the release of Firefox 102, Mozilla added a new query label stripping feature that automatically strips many query labels used for tracking from URLs when they are opened, whether that’s by clicking a link or pasting the URL into the address bar.

You probably noticed these queries when you click on a link that comes from Facebook, for example. Instead of showing https://www.aitnews.com/example.html, it might display something like https://www.aitnews.com/example.html?fbclid=aa7-V4yb6Yfit_9_Pd.

This jumble of characters after the question mark is a query label that can tell the company that you’ve clicked on a link, which helps them rank you under an ad-targeting account.

And if you enable the abstraction feature in the latest browser version, it removes this jumble of characters after the question mark before loading the URL. The feature works across the block list and covers Facebook, Olytics, Drip, Vero, HubSpot and Marketo.

Firefox continues to enhance privacy

Once the feature is enabled, the browser removes tracking labels from URLs when you click links or paste a URL into the address bar.

The new query classification stripping feature is part of Firefox’s improved tracking protection. To enable abstraction of query labels, go to your browser settings, and then click Privacy and Security. And change Enhanced Tracking Protection to Strict.

However, these tracking labels will not be stripped in private mode even with strict mode enabled. To enable the feature in private mode as well, enter about:config in the address bar, and set the privacy.query_stripping.enabled.pbmode option to On.

Note that setting Enhanced Tracking Protection to strict may cause problems when using certain sites.

And if you enable this feature and find that the sites are not working properly, just reset them back to the standard setting (disable this feature) or the custom setting, which requires some tweaking.

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