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Wednesday, 06 June 2018 07:59

Apple takes potshot at Facebook with Safari privacy features

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Apple has taken a shot at Facebook during its Worldwide Developer Conference, unveiling features in its Safari browser that will limit the way the social media company tracks and collects data.

When users encounter "like" and "share" buttons from Facebook, the Safari browser will bring up a prompt, asking: "“Do you want to allow ‘facebook.com’ to use cookies and website data while browsing?"

According to  The Wall Street Journal, Apple software chief Craig Federighi told the audience at the conference: "“We’ve all seen these ‘like’ buttons and ‘share’ buttons. Well, it turns out, these can be used to track you, whether you click on them or not. And so this year, we are shutting that down.”

Apple has made privacy a selling point for its devices for some time now and, as iTWire reported, has also made changes to the USB Restricted Mode in iOS so that third-party bids to crack passcodes would be limited.

The block on Facebook sharing and likes will be limited because iPhones only have about 15% of the smartphone market, with Android having most of the remainder.

But, if it proves to be popular, the possibility of Google adopting a similar feature for Chrome, both on desktop operating systems and its Android mobile operating system, would increase the pressure on Facebook to react.

Firefox already has the ability to block out Facebook's attempts to slurp data through buttons on websites.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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