Apple and Facebook are not friends.
We’ve seen the beef between the two Silicon Valley giants play out over the course of the past year, with Apple CEO Tim Cook making derisive comments about Facebook’s profiling of users, only to have Mark Zuckerberg attempt a comeback. But the war of words has escalated to action.
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Starting Tuesday, reports the Associated Press, Apple’s Safari browser will update to automatically block certain types of cookies that Facebook relies on to track users as they move across the web. While this added protection will initially be limited to the iPad and iPhone, those who prefer to browse on their Macs won’t have to wait long — specifically, they’ll only have to wait one additional week.
Oh yeah, and Firefox is set to offer similar tracking protection later this year.
Notably, these protections won’t do privacy-conscious consumers any good while they’re logged into Facebook, but it will help to protect them from the social network’s ever-expanding grasp while they’re logged out.
Which, if you’re someone who’s concerned about Facebook’s rather blithe view of your privacy, then you should definitely log out (or may just delete your account).
Specifically, many of the websites you visit have Facebook “Like” or “Share” buttons embedded in the pages. The buttons, according to the AP, can contain cookies that allow Facebook to keep tabs on you — even if you’re not logged into the social network. Apple’s Safari update will, at least theoretically, allow your browser to determine which cookies are needed for things like noting that you’re signed into your email versus just straight up collecting data on you.
If the cookie falls into the latter category, Safari will block it.
Similar protection currently exists in the form of add-ons like the EFF’s Privacy Badger, but the move by Apple to make it a default for its browser will no doubt contribute to a massive expansion of the practice of blocking Facebook cookies.
And that’s a fact that is sure to annoy Zuckerberg, although we don’t think the Facebook CEO’s protestations will bother Tim Cook too much. We imagine he has all the friends he currently needs.